Background: Atrial fibrillation prophylaxis with warfarin and strong antiplatelet agent use in cardiovascular diseases has increased the incidence of anticoagulation in the elderly. We studied traumatic intracranial hemorrhage (TICH) in patients ≥55 years of age on anticoagulation and antiplatelet agents in a stable population.
Methods: We used a Level 1 Trauma Center registry study comparing TICH in patients on anticoagulation drugs during the index periods 1999 to 2000 (T1) and 2007 to 2008 (T2).
Results: A total of 526 TICH patients were seen in T1 and T2 (age, 77.6 vs 77.5 years; not significant [NS]), with the rate doubling from 6.2% to 12.3% of all trauma activations (P < .01). There was no increase in atrial fibrillation, warfarin use, or CHADS(2) scores in atrial fibrillation patients on anticoagulation therapy. TICH in patients taking antiplatelet agents increased 5-fold (2.2 % vs 10.3%; P < .01). Overall TICH mortality rate was the same (12.4% vs 12.2%, NS). TICH mortality among patients on therapeutic warfarin was greater in T1 (26%; P < .05), but mortality was similar to TICH in patients not on anticoagulants in T2 (19% vs 12.2%, NS), suggesting treatment improved. Prevalence and mortality of TICH in patients on antiplatelet agents were similar to TICH in patients on warfarin.
Conclusion: TICH in patients on anticoagulants is epidemic in patients ≥55 years of age. Despite national trends, our well-served population has not seen an increase in warfarin use for atrial fibrillation. Instead, use of antiplatelet agents has increased and is associated with an increased incidence of TICH.
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