Bleeding Risk Index in an anticoagulation clinic. Assessment by indication and implications for care

J Gen Intern Med. 2005 Nov;20(11):1008-13. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1497.2005.0229.x.


Background: The Outpatient Bleeding Risk Index (BRI) prospectively classified patients who were at high, intermediate, or low risk for warfarin-related major bleeding. However, there are only 2 published validation studies of the index and neither included veterans.

Objective: To determine the accuracy of the BRI in patients attending a Veterans Affairs (VA) anticoagulation clinic and to specifically evaluate the accuracy of the BRI in patients with atrial fibrillation.

Design: Retrospective cohort study.

Patients and measurements: Using the BRI, all patients managed by the Anticoagulation Clinic between January 1, 2001 and December 31, 2002 were classified as high, intermediate, or low risk for major bleeding. Bleeds were identified via quality-assurance reports. Poisson regression was used to determine whether there was an association between the index and the development of bleeding.

Results: The rate of major bleeding was 10.6%, 2.5%, and 0.8% per patient-year of warfarin in the high-, intermediate-, and low-risk groups, respectively. Patients in the high-risk category had 14 times the rate of major bleeding of those in the low-risk group (incidence rate ratio (IRR) 14; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.9 to 104.7). The rate of major bleeding was significantly different between the high- and intermediate-risk categories (P<.001). Among those with atrial fibrillation, patients in the high-risk category had 6 times the major bleeding rate of those in the intermediate- and low-risk groups combined (IRR=6; 95% CI, 2.4 to 15.3).

Conclusions: The BRI discriminates between high- and intermediate-risk patients in a VA anticoagulation clinic, including those with atrial fibrillation.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anticoagulants / adverse effects*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / drug therapy
  • Cohort Studies
  • Decision Support Techniques
  • Female
  • Hemorrhage / epidemiology*
  • Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Hemorrhage / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Poisson Distribution
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Warfarin / adverse effects*


  • Anticoagulants
  • Warfarin