Lege Artis Medicinae

[New treatment option for oral anticoagulation in the prevention of cardiogenic stroke - Focus on the RE-LY trial]

SZAPÁRY László

MARCH 20, 2011

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2011;21(03)

[Atrial fibrillation (AF) represents the most common cause of cardioembolic stroke. The prevalence of AF increases with age and affects 10% of elderly people. AF-related stroke is usually severe and has a high mortality. The risk of stroke can be estimated on the basis of risk factors accompanying AF and age. Patients with one of the highest risk are those with AF and previous TIA or stroke. Efficient prevention is achieved by chronic anticoagulation therapy. In clinical practice, the use of vitamin K antagonists (VKA) has been the only option. The use of these agents is limited for a number of reasons, and clinicians are especially reluctant to use them in elderly patients at high risk of stroke. Consequently, of the patients with AF for whom anticoagulant therapy is indicated, only about 50-60% receives such therapy, and only half of the treated patients achieves target INR values. More than 50 years after the introduction of warfarin, data of trials with the new direct thrombin inhibitor dabigatran have been published in the past few years. In this paper, we review the results of the phase III, international RE-LY trial, published in 2009, which evaluated the preventive efficacy dabigatran etexilate in patients with AF compared with warfarin at a therapeutic dose. On the basis of the results, dabigatran used at a dose of 2×110mg daily provides the same protection as warfarin, whereas at a dose of 2×150mg it provides a signiificantly more efficient protection from AF-associated stroke and systemic embolism. In addition to its excellent preventive effect, dabigatran tretament results in a significant decrease in the risk of intracranial haemorrhages, and of other major haemorrhages. On the basis of the results, dabigatran will probably change the current treatment paradigm in the stroke prevention in patients with AF, and its introduction can substantially increase the number of patients treated efficiently and safely.]

COMMENTS

0 comments

Further articles in this publication

Lege Artis Medicinae

[“Home Birth should not be Legalized, it is Legal” – An Interview with Ágnes Geréb]

- LAM, ELITMED.HU -

Lege Artis Medicinae

[Gustav and Alma Mahler ]

KÖVES Péter

Lege Artis Medicinae

[An Abundance of New Knowledge – Csaba Farsang: The Handbook of Hypertension]

RÁCZ Károly

Lege Artis Medicinae

[Three Roles: – Chekhov as the Author, the Physician and the Patient]

KISS László

Lege Artis Medicinae

[ECG artefacts]

TOMCSÁNYI János, BEZZEG Péter

[The recognition of ECG artefacts is becoming increasingly important for physicians working in the field of internal medicine. At the same time, however, very little information about artefacts is published in either articles or textbooks. The authors provide a summary of the generation, types and recognition of ECG artefacts. The aim of the article is to draw the attention of clinicians to the dangers of this increasingly common phenomenon. Unrecognised artefacts can often prompt further (unnecessary) investigations and may result in establishing wrong diagnosis as well as erroneous treatment decisions.]

All articles in the issue

Related contents

Hypertension and nephrology

[Hypertension and atrial fibrillation. Part 1. - Epidemiological data. The pathomechanism of PF in hypertension]

KÉKES Ede

[Atrial fibrillation (PF) is the most common arrhythmia on the basis of analyzes conducted in different regions of the world. The main reason for this is the aging of the population. High blood pressure is one of the major factors of mortality in both developed and poor economical countries. The combined presence of the two diseases presents many hazards to our body. The most significant of these is the development of thromboembolic stroke, which is constantly increasing with age. The author analyzes in detail the aetiology called atrial cardiomyopathy, behind which there are complex structural, architectural, contractile and electro-physiological changes and leads to clinical manifestation of PF.]

Lege Artis Medicinae

[Everyday practice of atrial fibrillation treatment]

KISS István, BENCZÚR Béla

[The clinical importance of atrial fibrillation - the most frequent arrhythmia - is derived from the fact that it means a 5-fold risk of stroke/systemic embolism which contributes to the increased cardiovascular morbidity/mortality. Long-term oral anticoagulant therapy is a cornerstone of stroke prevention in patients with atrial fibrillation. Until recently Vitamin-K antagonists were the only available therapeutic option but its everyday use has several limitations, eg. bleeding risk, narrow therapeutic range, drug and food interactions and the need of monthly INR-control. The advent of NOAC-s may prevent a lot of difficulties regarding VKA-treatment and lead to as efficacious as and safer therapy than VKAs. These benefits can help better adherence of patients to the anticoagulant therapy which is one of the most important element of more effective stroke prevention. NOACs can be used more safely both in real life and in special patient populations (eg. elderly, type 2 diabetes, chronic kidney injury) than VKAs so they can contribute to effective cardiovascular risk reduction.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Efficacy of anticoagulation with vitamin K antagonists in acut stroke patients with atrial fibrillation - Hungarian results]

SAS Attila, CSONTOS Krisztina, LOVÁSZ Rita, VALIKOVICS Attila

[Background and objective - An estimated 20% of ischemic strokes are of cardiogenic origin, half of which is associated with atrial fibrillation (AF). Anticoagulation treatment of patients with this arrhythmia reduces their risk of stroke. Effectiveness and safety of oral anticoagulant therapy with vitamin K antagonists (VKA) is limited, however, by their well-known narrow therapeutic window and the substantial inter- and intraindividual variability of INR values depending on genetic and dietary factors as well as drug interactions. Our objective was to evaluate the prevalence of adequate anticoagulation and the level of anticoagulant effect actually achieved among patients with AF hospitalized for acute stroke. Methods - Patients with AF admitted to our hospital ward in 2012 for acute stroke (n=226) were included in the analysis. Using descriptive statistics, relevant clinical and therapeutic characteristics of the patients were assessed, with special reference to the INR values on admission (among patients with known AF), and the clinical outcomes. Results - Of the study cohort, 170 patients had a diagnosis of AF before the admission for stroke, but 47% of them did not take anticoagulants. Patients who suffered stroke while on anticoagulants (83 on VKA, 7 on low-molecular-weight heparins), were in most cases (75%) out of the therapeutic INR range, typically undertreated (INR<2). Overall, inadequate or completely absent anticoagulation was documented in 81% of the stroke cases occurring in patients with known AF. Of the entire study cohort, 41% was discharged home, 34% required continued institutional care, and 25% died. Conclusions - The inadequacy or lack of anticoagulation was observed in the vast majority of acute strokes in patients with known AF. These cases are often related to the well-documented limitations of VKA therapy in terms of its safety, tolerability and/or practical aspects. To prevent them, important changes are warranted in the anticoagulation practice, including the closer control of VKA therapy and the broader use of new oral anticoagulants.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Effective, safe stroke prevention with novel oral anticoagulants in patients with atrial fibrillation. Focus on dabigatran]

SZAPÁRY László, FEHÉR Gergely, BOSNYÁK Edit, DELI Gabriella, CSÉCSEI Péter

[Non-valvular AF is the most common cardiac arrhytmia. Its incidence increases with age. AF is an independent risk factor for ischaemic stroke, representing a five times higher risk for it, associated with a high mortality rate. Beside AF, there are several other risk factors which influence the risk of stroke. Stroke risk calculator can be used to assess the risk of patient having a stroke. The most endangered group of patients with AF are those who have already suffered from cerebrovascular event. The only effective medication for prevention of stroke due to AF had been the application of vitamin K antagonists (VKA) which considerably decrease the rate of ischaemic event in a patient with AF providing that the INR is in the therapeutic range. VKA have several limitations of use in clinical practice and the fear of bleeding complications results an underusing of these drugs. Only 50% of all patients treated with VKA reaches the therapeutic range of INR. The breakthrough of prevention of stroke in recent years is undisputedly the coming out of novel oral anticoagulants (NOACs, thrombin and Xa-factor inhibitors). Recent studies suggest that these novel drugs prove the same efficacy as VKA drugs, furthermore dabigatran in a dose of 2×150 mg or apixaban in 2×5mg was statistically superior to warfarin in the prevention of stroke. NOACs have shown a large reduction in intracranial hemorrhage compared with warfarin. They are given as a fixed dose and do not require persistent monitoring making them much more convenient. NOACs at guidelines of European Society of Cardiology act as a preferable drugs in case of ischaemic stroke with AF. Probably the extended use of NOACs in clinical practice will be the mainstream of stroke prevention in the future.]

Clinical Neuroscience

[Rivaroxaban in prevention of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation]

SIMONYI Gábor, MEDVEGY Mihály

[Atrial fibrillation (AF) is well established risk factor for cardioembolic stroke. With thromboprophylatic treatment we can reduce the risk of stroke in patients with AF. Oral vitamin K antagonists (VKA) such as warfarin and acenocoumarol are effective for stroke prevention in patients with atrial fibrillation. VKAs are associated with several limitations including very narrow therapeutic range, several factors (diet, drugs, alcohol consumption) affecting the effect of VKA and excessive bleeding may occur if INR value not controlled successfully. New oral anticoagulant direct Xa factor inhibitor rivaroxaban has a good therapeutic efficacy in prevention (primary and secondary) of stroke in AF patients. Its advantages are including no need for monitoring, fixed oral dose, not affected by meal, age and body weight, all of them can improve patient adherence. In ROCKET AF trial in patients with AF, rivaroxaban was noninferior to warfarin for the prevention of stroke or systemic embolism. There was no significant between-group difference in the risk of major bleeding, although intracranial and fatal bleeding occurred less frequently in the rivaroxaban group.]