(HealthDay News) – In a group of septuagenarian patients with atrial fibrillation, followed for up to six years, warfarin use is associated with a significant reduction in all-cause mortality, according to a study published in the Feb. 1 issue of The American Journal of Cardiology.

Brita Roy, MD, MPH, of the University of Alabama in Birmingham, and colleagues conducted a subgroup analysis of 616 patients aged 70–80 years on warfarin, and 227 matched controls not on warfarin, to identify whether use of anticoagulants was safe and efficacious in patients age 70 years or older. Participants were recruited from the Atrial Fibrillation Follow-up Investigation of Rhythm Management trial.

The researchers found that, during the six years of follow-up, all-cause mortality occurred in 18% and 33% of patients on warfarin and not on warfarin, respectively (HR for warfarin use versus nonuse, 0.58; P< 0.001). The incidence of all-cause hospitalization, ischemic stroke, and major bleeding was not significantly different between the two groups.

“In conclusion, in a propensity-matched balanced cohort of septuagenarian patients with atrial fibrillation, use of warfarin was associated with decreased mortality but had no association with hospitalization or major bleeding,” the authors write.

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