Long-term antithrombotic therapy and risk of intracranial haemorrhage from cerebral cavernous malformations: a population-based cohort study, systematic review, and meta-analysis

Scottish Audit Intracranial Vasc, Oct-2019, In : Lancet Neurology. 18, 10, p. 935-941 7 p.

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  • Scottish Audit Intracranial Vasc

Background Antithrombotic (anticoagulant or antiplatelet) therapy is withheld from some patients with cerebral cavernous malformations, because of uncertainty around the safety of these drugs in such patients. We aimed to establish whether antithrombotic therapy is associated with an increased risk of intracranial haemorrhage in adults with cerebral cavernous malformations.

Methods In this population-based, cohort study, we used data from the Scottish Audit of Intracranial Vascular Malformations, which prospectively identified individuals aged 16 years and older living in Scotland who were first diagnosed with a cerebral cavernous malformation during 1999-2003 or 2006-10. We compared the association between use of antithrombotic therapy after first presentation and the occurrence of intracranial haemorrhage or persistent or progressive focal neurological deficit due to the cerebral cavernous malformations during up to 15 years of prospective follow-up with multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression assessed in all individuals identified in the database. We also did a systematic review and meta-analysis, in which we searched Ovid MEDLINE and Embase from database inception to Feb 1, 2019, to identify comparative studies to calculate the intracranial haemorrhage incidence rate ratio according to antithrombotic therapy use. We then generated a pooled estimate using the inverse variance method and a random effects model.

Findings We assessed 300 of 306 individuals with a cerebral cavernous malformation who were eligible for study. 61 used antithrombotic therapy (ten [16%1 of 61 used anticoagulation) for a mean duration of 7.4 years (SD 5.4) during follow-up. Antithrombotic therapy use was associated with a lower risk of subsequent intracranial haemorrhage or focal neurological deficit (one 12.%] of 61 vs 29 112%1 of 239, adjusted hazard ratio [HR] 0.12, 95% CI 0. 02-0.8; p=0.037). In a meta-analysis of six cohort studies including 1342 patients, antithrombotic therapy use was associated with a lower risk of intracranial haemorrhage (eight [3%] of 253 vs 152 [14%] of 1089; incidence rate ratio 0.25, 95% CI 0.13-0.51; p

Interpretation Antithrombotic therapy use is associated with a lower risk of intracranial haemorrhage or focal neurological deficit from cerebral cavernous malformations than avoidance of antithrombotic therapy. These findings provide reassurance about safety for clinical practice and require further investigation in a randomised controlled trial. Copyright (C) 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)935-941
Number of pages7
JournalLancet Neurology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct-2019



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