Objective The optimal timing to start direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) after an acute ischaemic stroke (AIS) related to atrial fibrillation (AF) remains unclear. We aimed to compare early (≤5 days of AIS) versus late (>5 days of AIS) DOAC-start.
Methods This is an individual patient data pooled analysis of eight prospective European and Japanese cohort studies. We included patients with AIS related to non-valvular AF where a DOAC was started within 30 days. Primary endpoints were 30-day rates of recurrent AIS and ICH.
Results A total of 2550 patients were included. DOACs were started early in 1362 (53%) patients, late in 1188 (47%). During 212 patient-years, 37 patients had a recurrent AIS (1.5%), 16 (43%) before a DOAC was started; 6 patients (0.2%) had an ICH, all after DOAC-start. In the early DOAC-start group, 23 patients (1.7%) suffered from a recurrent AIS, while 2 patients (0.1%) had an ICH. In the late DOAC-start group, 14 patients (1.2%) suffered from a recurrent AIS; 4 patients (0.3%) suffered from ICH. In the propensity score-adjusted comparison of late versus early DOAC-start groups, there was no statistically significant difference in the hazard of recurrent AIS (aHR=1.2, 95% CI 0.5 to 2.9, p=0.69), ICH (aHR=6.0, 95% CI 0.6 to 56.3, p=0.12) or any stroke.
Conclusions Our results do not corroborate concerns that an early DOAC-start might excessively increase the risk of ICH. The sevenfold higher risk of recurrent AIS than ICH suggests that an early DOAC-start might be reasonable, supporting enrolment into randomised trials comparing an early versus late DOAC-start.
- cerebrovascular disease
Data availability statement
Data are available upon reasonable request.
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Presented at The work as been presented as a poster at the European Stroke Organisation Conference 2019, Milano, Italy.
Contributors GMDM, DJS, MP amd DJW conceived and designed the study. GMDM, DJS, SS, DW, VC, MA, GT, MK, SY, KT, MC, BB, KM, BK, CWC, PL, LHB, MP, SE and DJW acquired and analysed the data. GMDM, DJS, SS, DW, VC, MA, GT, MK, SY, KT, MC, BB, KM, BK, CWC, PL, LHB, MP, SE and DJW drafted a significant portion of the manuscript or figures.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests The following companies manufacture drugs involved in this study: Bayer (BY, rivaroxaban), Boehringer Ingelheim (BI, dabigatran), Pfizer/Bristol Meyer Squibb (PB, apixaban) and Daiichi Sankyo (DS, edoxaban). GMDM: scientific advisory boards and travel honoraria: BY; speaker honoraria: PB. DJS: scientific advisory boards: BY and PB. GT: scientific advisory boards: BY, DS and BI. MK: speaker honoraria from DS, BY and PB. KT: speaker honoraria from DS, BY, BI and PB. KM: speaker honoraria from BY, travel grant from PB. PL: scientific advisory boards: BY, DS and BI; funding for travel or speaker honoraria: BY and BI; research funding: BI. LHB: consultancy or advisory board fees or speaker’s honoraria from BY and PB. MP: honoraria as a member of the speaker bureau of BI, BY and PB. SE: funding for travel or speaker honoraria: BY, BI, PB and DS; scientific advisory boards: BY, BI and PB; educational grant from PB; research grant from DS. DJW: speaking honoraria: BY.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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