Complications associated with the use of oral anticoagulation in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension from two referral centers

PVRI Member Authors: Aaron Waxman


Anticoagulants are widely used in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) to prolong survival. However, there is a lack of robust evidence demonstrating the benefits of anticoagulants in PAH patients and very little is known about the complications of their use in this population. The objective of this study is to compare the safety of routine administration of oral anticoagulants between PAH patients who were and were not treated with oral anticoagulants. This observational, retrospective cohort study included consecutive patients with confirmed PAH from two centers: Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and Hospital Universitario La Paz in Madrid from January 2009 to August 2015. The study group comprised patients who received therapeutic anticoagulation; patients who had never received anticoagulants were placed in the control group. Of the 201 included patients, 60.2% were treated with oral anticoagulants and 39.8% were not treated. The hazard ratio for major bleeding was 2.7 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.1–6.8; P = 0.036). The incidence rate for the anticoagulation group was 4.7 per 100 patient-years (95% CI = 2.5–8.0). The most frequent major hemorrhage was gastrointestinal bleeding with 24 cases (72.7%). Prior bleeding, poor anticoagulation, HAS-BLED score ≥3, diabetes, and number of medications were factors that increased the risk of major bleeding in patients using anticoagulants. The harmful effects of anticoagulants could outweigh the benefits in PAH patients. Therefore, anticoagulants should be prescribed on a case-by-case basis and should not be systematically recommended.

Read the full article online


Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension


Tamara Roldan, Juan J Rios, Elena Villamañan, Aaron B. Waxman

Published in:

Pulmonary Circulation Vol 7: No 3 cover image

September 2017

Pulmonary Circulation Vol 7: No 3

View this journal

Our research platform is the world.

Through worldwide collaboration, we can begin to answer the question of a global disease.

Join the PVRI