Ruff, C. T., Bhatt, D. L., Steg, P. G., Gersh, B. J., Alberts, M. J., Hoffman, E. B., Ohman, E. M., Eagle, K. A., Lip, G. Y., Goto, S., Reach Registry Investigators Long-term cardiovascular outcomes in patients with atrial fibrillation and atherothrombosis in the REACH Registry Int J Cardiol. 2014;170(3):413-8.

BACKGROUND: Patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) are at increased risk of thromboembolic events. The long-term prognostic implications of AF in patients with atherothrombosis are unknown.

METHODS: We compared 4-year CV outcomes in patients with and without a history of AF recorded at their baseline visit in the REACH Registry, an international, prospective cohort of patients with established atherosclerotic arterial disease (CAD, CVD, PAD) or at least 3 risk factors (RFO). RESULTS: AF status and 4year follow-up data were available on 44,518 patients. The prevalence of AF at baseline was 10.3% (n=4582). Overall, patients with AF had approximately a 2-fold increase in the composite of CV death, MI, or stroke compared with patients without AF after adjustment for age, gender, prior ischemic event, vascular disease, congestive heart failure, diabetes, smoking, body mass index, region, aspirin and statin use (18.9% vs. 9.4%, p<0.0001). This increased risk was observed both in patients with established atherothrombosis (CAD: 15.5% vs. 8.0%, p=0.0001; CVD: 23.6% vs. 13.6%, p<0.0001; PAD: 24.3% vs. 13.5%, p=0.089) and those with multiple risk factors (RFO: 12.1% vs. 5.9%, p=0.017). Only 52% of patients with a history of AF at baseline were receiving anticoagulation at 4years.

CONCLUSIONS: Patients with a history of both AF and atherothrombosis have particularly high long-term CV risk. Despite this increased risk, almost half of all patients with AF do not receive guideline recommended anticoagulation, highlighting an important public health priority.