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Atrial fibrillation in patients with severe mental disorders and the risk of stroke, fatal thromboembolic events and bleeding: a nationwide cohort study

07 Dec 2017

Objectives

Outcomes of atrial fibrillation (AF) in patients with severe mental disorders are largely unknown. We compared rates of stroke, fatal thromboembolic events and bleeding in patients with AF with and without mental disorders.

Design

Nationwide registry-based cohort study.

Setting

Denmark (population 5.6 million), 2000–2015.

Participants

Patients with AF with schizophrenia (n=534), severe depression (n=400) or bipolar disease (n=569) matched 1:5 on age, sex and calendar time to patients with AF without mental disorders.

Exposure

Inpatient or hospital-based outpatient diagnosis of schizophrenia, severe depression or bipolar disease.

Primary and secondary outcome measures

HRs for stroke, fatal thromboembolic events and major bleeding comparing patients with and without mental disorders estimated by Cox regression with sequential adjustment for risk factors for stroke and bleeding, comorbidity and initiation of oral anticoagulant therapy (OAT).

Results

Compared with matched comparisons, crude 5-year HRs of ischaemic stroke were 1.37 (95% CI 0.88 to 2.14) for schizophrenia, 1.36 (95% CI 0.89 to 2.08) for depression and 1.04 (95% CI 0.69 to 1.56) for bipolar disease. After adjusting for risk factors, comorbidity and OAT, these HRs declined towards the null. Crude HRs of fatal thromboembolic events were 3.16 (95% CI 1.78 to 5.61) for schizophrenia, 1.31 (95% CI 0.67 to 2.56) for depression and 1.53 (95% CI 0.93 to 2.53) for bipolar disease. Rates of major bleeding were increased in patients with schizophrenia (crude HR 1.37, 95% CI 0.99 to 1.90) and severe depression (HR 1.25, 95% CI 0.87 to 1.78) but not bipolar disease (HR 0.82, 95% CI 0.58 to 1.15).

Conclusion

Patients with AF with schizophrenia or severe depression experienced increased rates of stroke and major bleeding compared with matched comparisons. This increase was largely explained by differences in the prevalence of risk factors for stroke and bleeding, comorbidity and initiation of OAT during follow-up. Patients with AF with schizophrenia further experienced higher mortality following thromboembolic events than matched comparisons without mental disorders.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open

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