Bleeding and Subsequent Cardiovascular Events and Death in Atrial Fibrillation With Stable Coronary Artery Disease: Insights From the AFIRE Trial

Circ Cardiovasc Interv. 2021 Sep 3;CIRCINTERVENTIONS120010476. doi: 10.1161/CIRCINTERVENTIONS.120.010476. Online ahead of print.


Background: Early bleeding after percutaneous coronary intervention is associated with increased risk of death and myocardial infarction; however, the association between bleeding and subsequent major adverse cardiac and cerebrovascular events (MACCE) remains unclear in patients with atrial fibrillation and stable coronary artery disease. We thus aimed to investigate this association.

Methods: The AFIRE trial (Atrial Fibrillation and Ischemic Events With Rivaroxaban in Patients With Stable Coronary Artery Disease) was a multicenter, open-label trial conducted in Japan. This post hoc analysis included 2215 patients with atrial fibrillation and stable coronary artery disease treated with rivaroxaban or rivaroxaban plus an antiplatelet agent. MACCE was defined as a composite of stroke, systemic embolism, myocardial infarction, unstable angina requiring revascularization, or death from any cause. The association of bleeding with subsequent MACCE risk was investigated using time-adjusted Cox multivariate analysis after adjusting for baseline characteristics and time from bleeding. Bleeding events were classified according to the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis criteria.

Results: Among the 2215 patients, 386 (17.4%) had bleeding during follow-up, of whom 63 (16.3%) also experienced MACCE; MACCE incidence was higher in patients with bleeding than in those without (8.38% versus 4.20% per patient-year; hazard ratio, 2.01 [95% CI, 1.49-2.70]; P<0.001). The proportion of patients with both bleeding and MACCE (developed after bleeding) was 73.0% (46 of 63); 27.0% (17 of 63) experienced MACCE before bleeding. Time-adjusted Cox multivariate analysis revealed a temporal association between major bleeding and subsequent MACCE, with particularly high MACCE risks within 30 days after major bleeding (hazard ratio, 7.81 [95% CI, 4.20-14.54]).

Conclusions: In patients with atrial fibrillation and stable coronary artery disease, major bleeding was strongly associated with subsequent MACCE. Thus, it is important to prevent major bleeding to avoid cardiovascular events and death. Registration: URL:; Unique identifier: UMIN000016612. URL:; Unique identifier: NCT02642419.

Keywords: atrial fibrillation; bleeding time; hemorrhage; incidence; percutaneous coronary intervention.

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