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Concept: Thrombosis


Background Although many patients with venous thromboembolism require extended treatment, it is uncertain whether it is better to use full- or lower-intensity anticoagulation therapy or aspirin. Methods In this randomized, double-blind, phase 3 study, we assigned 3396 patients with venous thromboembolism to receive either once-daily rivaroxaban (at doses of 20 mg or 10 mg) or 100 mg of aspirin. All the study patients had completed 6 to 12 months of anticoagulation therapy and were in equipoise regarding the need for continued anticoagulation. Study drugs were administered for up to 12 months. The primary efficacy outcome was symptomatic recurrent fatal or nonfatal venous thromboembolism, and the principal safety outcome was major bleeding. Results A total of 3365 patients were included in the intention-to-treat analyses (median treatment duration, 351 days). The primary efficacy outcome occurred in 17 of 1107 patients (1.5%) receiving 20 mg of rivaroxaban and in 13 of 1127 patients (1.2%) receiving 10 mg of rivaroxaban, as compared with 50 of 1131 patients (4.4%) receiving aspirin (hazard ratio for 20 mg of rivaroxaban vs. aspirin, 0.34; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.20 to 0.59; hazard ratio for 10 mg of rivaroxaban vs. aspirin, 0.26; 95% CI, 0.14 to 0.47; P<0.001 for both comparisons). Rates of major bleeding were 0.5% in the group receiving 20 mg of rivaroxaban, 0.4% in the group receiving 10 mg of rivaroxaban, and 0.3% in the aspirin group; the rates of clinically relevant nonmajor bleeding were 2.7%, 2.0%, and 1.8%, respectively. The incidence of adverse events was similar in all three groups. Conclusions Among patients with venous thromboembolism in equipoise for continued anticoagulation, the risk of a recurrent event was significantly lower with rivaroxaban at either a treatment dose (20 mg) or a prophylactic dose (10 mg) than with aspirin, without a significant increase in bleeding rates. (Funded by Bayer Pharmaceuticals; EINSTEIN CHOICE number, NCT02064439 .).

Concepts: Clinical trial, Blood, Stroke, Thrombosis, Warfarin, Dose, Aspirin, Bayer


Background Apixaban, an oral factor Xa inhibitor that can be administered in a simple, fixed-dose regimen, may be an option for the extended treatment of venous thromboembolism. Methods In this randomized, double-blind study, we compared two doses of apixaban (2.5 mg and 5 mg, twice daily) with placebo in patients with venous thromboembolism who had completed 6 to 12 months of anticoagulation therapy and for whom there was clinical equipoise regarding the continuation or cessation of anticoagulation therapy. The study drugs were administered for 12 months. Results A total of 2486 patients underwent randomization, of whom 2482 were included in the intention-to-treat analyses. Symptomatic recurrent venous thromboembolism or death from venous thromboembolism occurred in 73 of the 829 patients (8.8%) who were receiving placebo, as compared with 14 of the 840 patients (1.7%) who were receiving 2.5 mg of apixaban (a difference of 7.2 percentage points; 95% confidence interval [CI], 5.0 to 9.3) and 14 of the 813 patients (1.7%) who were receiving 5 mg of apixaban (a difference of 7.0 percentage points; 95% CI, 4.9 to 9.1) (P<0.001 for both comparisons). The rates of major bleeding were 0.5% in the placebo group, 0.2% in the 2.5-mg apixaban group, and 0.1% in the 5-mg apixaban group. The rates of clinically relevant nonmajor bleeding were 2.3% in the placebo group, 3.0% in the 2.5-mg apixaban group, and 4.2% in the 5-mg apixaban group. The rate of death from any cause was 1.7% in the placebo group, as compared with 0.8% in the 2.5-mg apixaban group and 0.5% in the 5-mg apixaban group. Conclusions Extended anticoagulation with apixaban at either a treatment dose (5 mg) or a thromboprophylactic dose (2.5 mg) reduced the risk of recurrent venous thromboembolism without increasing the rate of major bleeding. (Funded by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer; AMPLIFY-EXT number, NCT00633893 .).

Concepts: Blood, Thrombosis, Clopidogrel, Warfarin, Hematology, Anticoagulant, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Apixaban


Background It is uncertain whether bridging anticoagulation is necessary for patients with atrial fibrillation who need an interruption in warfarin treatment for an elective operation or other elective invasive procedure. We hypothesized that forgoing bridging anticoagulation would be noninferior to bridging with low-molecular-weight heparin for the prevention of perioperative arterial thromboembolism and would be superior to bridging with respect to major bleeding. Methods We performed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in which, after perioperative interruption of warfarin therapy, patients were randomly assigned to receive bridging anticoagulation therapy with low-molecular-weight heparin (100 IU of dalteparin per kilogram of body weight) or matching placebo administered subcutaneously twice daily, from 3 days before the procedure until 24 hours before the procedure and then for 5 to 10 days after the procedure. Warfarin treatment was stopped 5 days before the procedure and was resumed within 24 hours after the procedure. Follow-up of patients continued for 30 days after the procedure. The primary outcomes were arterial thromboembolism (stroke, systemic embolism, or transient ischemic attack) and major bleeding. Results In total, 1884 patients were enrolled, with 950 assigned to receive no bridging therapy and 934 assigned to receive bridging therapy. The incidence of arterial thromboembolism was 0.4% in the no-bridging group and 0.3% in the bridging group (risk difference, 0.1 percentage points; 95% confidence interval [CI], -0.6 to 0.8; P=0.01 for noninferiority). The incidence of major bleeding was 1.3% in the no-bridging group and 3.2% in the bridging group (relative risk, 0.41; 95% CI, 0.20 to 0.78; P=0.005 for superiority). Conclusions In patients with atrial fibrillation who had warfarin treatment interrupted for an elective operation or other elective invasive procedure, forgoing bridging anticoagulation was noninferior to perioperative bridging with low-molecular-weight heparin for the prevention of arterial thromboembolism and decreased the risk of major bleeding. (Funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health; BRIDGE number, NCT00786474 .).

Concepts: Blood, Stroke, Atrial fibrillation, Thrombosis, Pulmonary embolism, Warfarin, Anticoagulant, Heparin


Oral anticoagulant therapy is used to prevent thrombosis in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF), venous thrombosis and prosthetic heart valves. The introduction of new therapies emphasizes the need to discern the best practice for the patients remaining on warfarin treatment. This study compares patient characteristics and therapeutic control in two settings managing warfarin treatment: Swedish primary health care centers (PHCC) and specialized anticoagulation clinics (ACC).

Concepts: Medicine, Stroke, Atrial fibrillation, Thrombosis, Warfarin, Anticoagulant, Heparin, Prothrombin time


Atrial fibrillation, the commonest cardiac arrhythmia, predisposes to thrombus formation and consequently increases risk of ischaemic stroke. Recent years have seen approval of a number of novel oral anticoagulants. Nevertheless, warfarin and aspirin remain the mainstays of therapy. It is widely appreciated that both these agents increase the likelihood of bleeding: there is a popular conception that this risk is greater with warfarin. In fact, well-managed warfarin therapy (INR 2-3) has little effect on bleeding risk and is twice as effective as aspirin at preventing stroke. Patients with atrial fibrillation and a further risk factor for stroke (CHA2DS2-VASc >0) should therefore either receive warfarin or a novel oral agent. The remainder who are at the very lowest risk of stroke are better not prescribed antithrombotic therapy. For stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation; aspirin is rarely the right choice.

Concepts: Myocardial infarction, Stroke, Atrial fibrillation, Thrombosis, Warfarin, Thrombus, Anticoagulant, Heparin


Effective treatment of venous thromboembolism (VTE) strikes a balance between prevention of recurrence and bleeding complications. The current standard of care is heparin followed by a vitamin K antagonist such as warfarin. However, this option is not without its limitations, as the anticoagulant effect of warfarin is associated with high inter- and intra-patient variability and patients must be regularly monitored to ensure that anticoagulation is within the narrow target therapeutic range. Several novel oral anticoagulant agents are in the advanced stages of development for VTE treatment, some of which are given after an initial period of heparin treatment, in line with current practice, while others switch from high to low doses after the initial phase of treatment. In this review we assess the critical considerations for treating VTE in light of emerging clinical data for new oral agents and discuss the merits of novel treatment regimens for patients who have experienced an episode of deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism.

Concepts: Stroke, Thrombosis, Pulmonary embolism, Warfarin, Vein, Low molecular weight heparin, Anticoagulant, Deep vein thrombosis


Central venous catheter (CVC) thrombi result in significant morbidity in children, and currently available treatments are associated with significant risk. We sought to investigate the therapeutic efficacy of microbubble (MB) enhanced sonothrombolysis for aged CVC associated thrombi in vivo.

Concepts: Thrombosis, Central venous catheter, Catheter, Catheters, Peripheral venous catheter


Portal vein thrombosis (PVT) is due to many risk factors, but its pathogenesis is still not clearly understood. To identify the risk factors for PVT, we analyzed the clinical characteristics and complications associated with PVT in cirrhotic patients.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Medical statistics, Thrombosis, Vein, Hepatic portal vein, Portal vein thrombosis, Portal venous system


Background The use of thromboprophylaxis to prevent clinically apparent venous thromboembolism after knee arthroscopy or casting of the lower leg is disputed. We compared the incidence of symptomatic venous thromboembolism after these procedures between patients who received anticoagulant therapy and those who received no anticoagulant therapy. Methods We conducted two parallel, pragmatic, multicenter, randomized, controlled, open-label trials with blinded outcome evaluation: the POT-KAST trial, which included patients undergoing knee arthroscopy, and the POT-CAST trial, which included patients treated with casting of the lower leg. Patients were assigned to receive either a prophylactic dose of low-molecular-weight heparin (for the 8 days after arthroscopy in the POT-KAST trial or during the full period of immobilization due to casting in the POT-CAST trial) or no anticoagulant therapy. The primary outcomes were the cumulative incidences of symptomatic venous thromboembolism and major bleeding within 3 months after the procedure. Results In the POT-KAST trial, 1543 patients underwent randomization, of whom 1451 were included in the intention-to-treat population. Venous thromboembolism occurred in 5 of the 731 patients (0.7%) in the treatment group and in 3 of the 720 patients (0.4%) in the control group (relative risk, 1.6; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.4 to 6.8; absolute difference in risk, 0.3 percentage points; 95% CI, -0.6 to 1.2). Major bleeding occurred in 1 patient (0.1%) in the treatment group and in 1 (0.1%) in the control group (absolute difference in risk, 0 percentage points; 95% CI, -0.6 to 0.7). In the POT-CAST trial, 1519 patients underwent randomization, of whom 1435 were included in the intention-to-treat population. Venous thromboembolism occurred in 10 of the 719 patients (1.4%) in the treatment group and in 13 of the 716 patients (1.8%) in the control group (relative risk, 0.8; 95% CI, 0.3 to 1.7; absolute difference in risk, -0.4 percentage points; 95% CI, -1.8 to 1.0). No major bleeding events occurred. In both trials, the most common adverse event was infection. Conclusions The results of our trials showed that prophylaxis with low-molecular-weight heparin for the 8 days after knee arthroscopy or during the full period of immobilization due to casting was not effective for the prevention of symptomatic venous thromboembolism. (Funded by the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development; POT-KAST and POT-CAST numbers, NCT01542723 and NCT01542762 , respectively.).

Concepts: Blood, Thrombosis, Pulmonary embolism, Warfarin, Anterior cruciate ligament, Low molecular weight heparin, Anticoagulant, Heparin


Background A finding of reduced aortic-valve leaflet motion was noted on computed tomography (CT) in a patient who had a stroke after transcatheter aortic-valve replacement (TAVR) during an ongoing clinical trial. This finding raised a concern about possible subclinical leaflet thrombosis and prompted further investigation. Methods We analyzed data obtained from 55 patients in a clinical trial of TAVR and from two single-center registries that included 132 patients who were undergoing either TAVR or surgical aortic-valve bioprosthesis implantation. We obtained four-dimensional, volume-rendered CT scans along with data on anticoagulation and clinical outcomes (including strokes and transient ischemic attacks [TIAs]). Results Reduced leaflet motion was noted on CT in 22 of 55 patients (40%) in the clinical trial and in 17 of 132 patients (13%) in the two registries. Reduced leaflet motion was detected among patients with multiple bioprosthesis types, including transcatheter and surgical bioprostheses. Therapeutic anticoagulation with warfarin, as compared with dual antiplatelet therapy, was associated with a decreased incidence of reduced leaflet motion (0% and 55%, respectively, P=0.01 in the clinical trial; and 0% and 29%, respectively, P=0.04 in the pooled registries). In patients who were reevaluated with follow-up CT, restoration of leaflet motion was noted in all 11 patients who were receiving anticoagulation and in 1 of 10 patients who were not receiving anticoagulation (P<0.001). There was no significant difference in the incidence of stroke or TIA between patients with reduced leaflet motion and those with normal leaflet motion in the clinical trial (2 of 22 patients and 0 of 33 patients, respectively; P=0.16), although in the pooled registries, a significant difference was detected (3 of 17 patients and 1 of 115 patients, respectively; P=0.007). Conclusions Reduced aortic-valve leaflet motion was shown in patients with bioprosthetic aortic valves. The condition resolved with therapeutic anticoagulation. The effect of this finding on clinical outcomes including stroke needs further investigation. (Funded by St. Jude Medical and Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute; Portico-IDE number, NCT02000115 ; SAVORY registry, NCT02426307 ; and RESOLVE registry, NCT02318342 .).

Concepts: Clinical trial, Stroke, Atrial fibrillation, Transient ischemic attack, Thrombosis,, Warfarin, Anticoagulant