Vitamin K antagonists (VKAs) are effective drugs reducing the risk for stroke in atrial fibrillation (AF), but the benefits derived from such therapy depend on the international normalized ratio (INR) maintenance in a narrow therapeutic range. Here, we aimed to determine independent variables driving poor anticoagulation control [defined as a time in therapeutic range (TTR) <65%] in a 'real world' national cohort of AF patients.
The SULTAN registry is a multicentre, prospective study, involving patients with non-valvular AF from 72 cardiology units expert in AF in Spain. At inclusion, all patients naïve for oral anticoagulation were started with VKAs for the first time. For the analysis, the first month of anticoagulation and those patients with <3 INR determinations were disregarded. Patients were followed up during 1 year. A total of 870 patients (53.9% male, the mean age of 73.6 ± 9.2 years, mean CHA2DS2-VASc and HAS-BLED of 3.3 ± 1.5 and 1.4 ± 0.9, respectively) were included in the full analysis set. In overall, 7889 INR determinations were available. At 1-year, the mean TTR was 63.1 ± 22.1% and 49.2% patients had a TTR < 65%. Multivariate Cox regression analysis showed that coronary artery disease [odds ratio (OR) 1.81, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.14-2.87; P = 0.012] and amiodarone use (OR 1.54, 95% CI 1.01-2.34; P = 0.046) were independently associated with poor quality of anticoagulation (TTR <65%).
This study demonstrated that the quality of anticoagulation in AF patients newly starting VKAs is sub-optimal. Previous coronary artery disease and concomitant use of amiodarone were identified as independent variables affecting the poor quality of VKA therapy during the first year.

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