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One-year clinical events and management of patients with atrial fibrillation hospitalized in cardiology centers: Data from the BLITZ-AF study

Published:January 14, 2020DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejim.2019.12.006

      Highlights

      • The BLITZ-AF has a high 1-year mortality rate due to heart failure.
      • Thromboembolic and hemorrhagic events were few at 1 year follow-up.
      • Persistence on oral anticoagulant therapy at 1 year was high.
      • The increase in prescription of DOACs contributes to the persistence of treatment.

      Structured abstract

      Background

      The management of atrial fibrillation (AF) has changed with the introduction of direct anticoagulants (DOACs) and new techniques such as catheter ablation. An update collection of data from “real world” AF patients followed by cardiologists is useful to obtain information on both management, outcomes and guideline adherence in clinical practice.

      Methods

      Follow-up information on survival, embolic and bleeding events and hospital readmission, persistence of oral anticoagulant (OAC) therapy was collected in 84 centers participating to the BLITZ-AF study.

      Results

      Patients were followed for a median of 366 days (IQR: 356–378) and vital status was available for 2159 patients. Mortality was 9.2%. Heart failure was the most common cardiovascular cause of death (70%) followed by arrhythmias (6.7%), acute coronary syndrome (5.0%) and ischemic stroke (2.5%). During follow-up 18.1% of the patients were readmitted, mainly (81.3%) for cardiovascular causes. Patients on OAC were 83.4%, 9.1% were on antiplatelets and 7.5% did not receive antithrombotic therapy. The use of DOACs increased from 42.1% to 46.4% during the follow-up, OAC discontinuation occurred in 9.1%. AF recurrences occurred in 23.4% of the patients discharged in sinus rhythm. Rate control strategy was adopted in 55.9% and beta-blockers were the most used drugs (81.9%). Amiodarone (22%) and flecainide (9.7%) were the most frequent used antiahrrythmic drugs.

      Conclusions

      The follow-up of the BLITZ-AF study provide an up to date picture of the clinical course of patients with AF, who appear frequently affected by heart failure and severe comorbidities which might have led to the high mortality rate.

      Keywords

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