John Libbey Eurotext

Gériatrie et Psychologie Neuropsychiatrie du Vieillissement


Anticoagulant treatment in elderly patients with atrial fibrillation: position paper Volume 17, issue 4, Décembre 2019

1 Université Paris-Descartes, EA 4468, Hôpital Broca, APHP, Gérontopôle d’Ile-de-France Paris, France
2 CHU de Montpellier, Centre de prévention et de traitement des maladies du vieillissement, France
3 CHU de Dijon, Pôle personnes âgées, Dijon, Francce
4 CHU de Poitiers, Pôle de gériatrie, Poitiers, France
5 CHU de Lille, Pôle de gérontologie, France
6 Institut du vieillissement, Hospices civils de Lyon, Inserm 1048, Université Lyon 1, Lyon, France
7 CHU Nantes, Pôle hospitalo-universitaire de gérontologie clinique, France
8 Gérontopôle Autonomie Longévité Pays de la Loire, France
* Correspondance

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is common in the elderly. The treatment of this condition is based on anticoagulation in preventing Stroke and systemic arterial embolism. Vitamin K antagonists (VKAs) have long been the only anticoagulants available for the management of AF. Difficulties handling VKAs have made them one of the main causes of iatrogenic disease in the elderly. In the last 10 years, direct-acting oral anticoagulants (DOACs) have emerged and large randomized trials (RE-LY, ROCKET-AF, ARISTOTLE, ENGAGE-AF) have demonstrated their superiority over VKAs in the management of AF. These trials were conducted with large numbers of patients (n=71,683), including 27,500 aged ≥75 years and nearly 8,000 subjects aged >80 years. Results from 11 recent meta-analyses of randomized trials and observational real-world studies of 660,896 elderly patient indicate that DOACs are more effective than VKA-based prophylaxis in preventing stroke (risk reduction ranging from 13% to 26%) and carry a lower risk of cerebral hemorrhage (risk reduction 50%). The risk of major hemorrhage appears to be similar to or lower with DOACs than with VKAs (depending on the dosage, renal function, hemorrhagic site or type of DOACs). Moreover, a greater benefit of DOACs over VKA therapy has been found in subgroup analyses in subjects aged over 75 years, in patients with renal insufficiency (creatinine clearance 30-50 mL/min) and in those with a history of falls. Analyses indicate that DOACs are a better choice than VKAs in the elderly because elderly patients are those with the highest risk of stroke and cerebral hemorrhages. In summary, DOACs have a better efficacy/tolerance profile than VKAs, which justifies their first-line use in subjects over 75 years of age.