Coumarin or DOAC in frail elderly patients with atrial fibrillation?


Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2024 Jan 29;168:D8026.


OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether frail elderly people with atrial fibrillation (AF) who are currently using a vitamin K antagonist (VKA) should be switched to a direct-acting oral anticoagulant (DOAC).

DESIGN: Randomized clinical trial.

METHODS: 662 frail elderly AF patients were switched to a DOAC, and 661 patients continued their VKA. The primary endpoint was a major or clinically relevant non-major bleeding during 1 year of follow-up. Secondary endpoints included thrombo-embolic events.

RESULTS: The mean age of the included patients was 83 years. In the ‘switch to DOAC arm’, 101 bleeding events (15.3%) occurred and in the ‘continue with VKA arm’, 62 bleeding events (9.4%); an increase of 69% more bleeding events (P-value 0.001). The number of thrombo-embolic events was not significantly different between both groups.

CONCLUSION: Switching from a VKA to a DOAC in frail elderly people with AF leads to 69% more bleeding, without a difference in thrombo-embolic events.