Role of biological markers for cerebral bleeding risk STRATification in patients with atrial fibrillation on oral anticoagulants for primary or secondary prevention of ischemic stroke (Strat-AF study): Study design and methodology

Anna Poggesi, Carmen Barbato, Francesco Galmozzi, Eleonora Camilleri, Francesca Cesari, Stefano Chiti, Stefano Diciotti, Silvia Galora, Betti Giusti, Anna Maria Gori, Chiara Marzi, Anna Melone, Damiano Mistri, Francesca Pescini, Giovanni Pracucci, Valentina Rinnoci, Cristina Sarti, Enrico Fainardi, Rossella Marcucci, Emilia Salvadori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background and Objectives: In anticoagulated atrial fibrillation (AF) patients, the validity of models recommended for the stratification of the risk ratio between benefits and hemorrhage risk is limited. Cerebral small vessel disease (SVD) represents the pathologic substrate for primary intracerebral hemorrhage and ischemic stroke. We hypothesize that biological markers-both circulating and imaging-based-and their possible interaction, might improve the prediction of bleeding risk in AF patients under treatment with any type of oral anticoagulant. Materials and Methods: The Strat-AF study is an observational, prospective, single-center hospital-based study enrolling patients with AF, aged 65 years or older, and with no contraindications to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), referring to Center of Thrombosis outpatient clinic of our University Hospital for the management of oral anticoagulation therapy. Recruited patients are evaluated by means of a comprehensive protocol, with clinical, cerebral MRI, and circulating biomarkers assessment at baseline and after 18 months. The main outcome is SVD progression-particularly microbleeds-as a selective surrogate marker of hemorrhagic complication. Stroke occurrence (ischemic or hemorrhagic) and the progression of functional, cognitive, and motor status will be evaluated as secondary outcomes. Circulating biomarkers may further improve predictive potentials. Results: Starting from September 2017, 194 patients (mean age 78.1 ± 6.7, range 65-97; 61% males) were enrolled. The type of AF was paroxysmal in 93 patients (48%), and persistent or permanent in the remaining patients. Concerning the type of oral anticoagulant, 57 patients (29%) were on vitamin K antagonists, and 137 (71%) were on direct oral anticoagulants. Follow-up clinical evaluation and brain MRI are ongoing. Conclusions: The Strat-AF study may be an essential step towards the exploration of the role of a combined clinical biomarker or multiple biomarker models in predicting stroke risk in AF, and might sustain the incorporation of such new markers in the existing stroke prediction schemes by the demonstration of a greater incremental value in predicting stroke risk and improvement in clinical outcomes in a cost-effective fashion.

Original languageEnglish
Article number626
JournalMedicina (Lithuania)
Volume55
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2019

Keywords

  • Anticoagulation
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Brain MRI
  • Cerebral small vessel disease
  • Circulating biomarkers
  • Intracerebral hemorrhage
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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