Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Background The outcomes of patients newly diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (AF) following the introduction of direct-acting oral anticoagulants are not well known. Aim To determine the 2-year outcomes of patients newly diagnosed with AF, and the effectiveness of oral anticoagulants in everyday practice. Design and setting This was a prospective observational cohort study in UK primary care. Method In total, 3574 patients aged ≤18 years with a new AF diagnosis were enrolled. A propensity score was applied using an overlap weighting scheme to obtain unbiased estimates of the treatment effect of anticoagulation versus no anticoagulation on the occurrence of death, non-haemorrhagic stroke/systemic embolism, and major bleeding within 2 years of diagnosis. Results Overall, 65.8% received anticoagulant therapy, 20.8% received an antiplatelet only, and 13.4% received neither. During the study period, the overall incidence rates of all-cause mortality, non-haemorrhagic stroke/systemic embolism, and major bleeding were 4.15 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 3.69 to 4.65), 1.45 (95% CI = 1.19 to 1.77), and 1.21 (95% CI = 0.97 to 1.50) per 100 person-years, respectively. Anticoagulation treatment compared with no anticoagulation treatment was associated with significantly lower all-cause mortality adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) 0.70 (95% CI = 0.53 to 0.93), significantly lower risk of non-haemorrhagic stroke/ systemic embolism (aHR 0.39, 95% CI = 0.24 to 0.62), and a non-significant higher risk of major bleeding (aHR 1.31, 95% CI = 0.77 to 2.24). Conclusion The data support a benefit of anticoagulation in reducing stroke and death, without an increased risk of a major bleed in patients with new-onset AF. Anticoagulation treatment in patients at high risk of stroke who are not receiving anticoagulation may further improve outcomes.

Original publication




Journal article


British Journal of General Practice

Publication Date





E693 - E701