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Anticoagulation practices in adults with congenital heart disease and atrial arrhythmias in Switzerland

Ketina Arslani1*, Lukas Notz1*, Marzena Zurek1, Matthias Greutmann2, Markus Schwerzmann3, Judith Bouchardy4, Reto Engel5, Christine Attenhofer Jost6, Daniel Tobler1

1 Department of Cardiology, University Hospital of Basel, University of Basel, Switzerland
2 Department of Cardiology, University Heart Center, University of Zurich, Switzerland
3 Department of Cardiology, Center for Congenital Heart Disease, Inselspital, University of Bern, Switzerland
4 Department of Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery (CHUV), Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, Lausanne, Switzerland
5 Cardiology, Kantonsspital St. Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzerland
6 Klinik im Park, Zurich, Switzerland

* Corresponding Author: Daniel Tobler, MD, Department of Cardiology, University Hospital Basel, Petersgraben 4; CH-4031 Basel. Email:

Congenital Heart Disease 2018, 13(5), 678-684.


Background: In adults with congenital heart disease (CHD) and atrial arrhythmias, recommendations for thromboprophylaxis are vague and evidence is lacking. We aimed to identify factors that influence decision-making in daily practice.
Methods: From the Swiss Adult Congenital HEart disease Registry (SACHER) we identified 241 patients with either atrial fibrillation (Afib) or atrial flutter/intraatrial reentrant tachycardia (Aflut/ IART). The mode of anticoagulation was reviewed. Logistic regression models were used to assess factors that were associated with oral anticoagulation therapy.
Results: Compared with patients with Aflut/IART, patients with Afib were older (51 ± 16.1 vs 37 ± 16 years, P < .001) and had a higher CHA2DS2-VASc (P < .001) and HAS-BLED scores (P = .005). Patients with Afib were more likely on oral anticoagulation than patients with Aflut/IART (67% vs 43%, P < .001). In a multivariate logistic regression model, age [odds ratio (OR) 1.03 per year, 95%CI (1.01-1.05), P = .019], atrial fibrillation [OR 2.75, 95%CI (1.30-5.08), P = .007], nonparoxysmal atrial arrhythmias [OR 5.33, 95%CI (2.21-12.85)], CHA2DS2-VASc-Score >1 [OR 2.93, 95%CI (1.87-4.61), P < .001], and Fontan palliation [OR 17.5, 95%CI (5.57-54.97), P < .001] were independently associated with oral anticoagulation treatment, whereas a HAS-BLED score >1 was associated with absence of thromboprophylaxis [OR 0.32, 95%CI (0.17-0.60), P < .001].
Conclusions: In this multicenter study, age, type, and duration of atrial arrhythmias, CHA2DS2- VASc and HAS-BLED scores as well as a Fontan palliation had an impact on the use of thromboprophylaxis in adult CHD patients with atrial arrhythmias. In daily practice, anticoagulation strategies differ between patients with Afib and those with Aflut/IART. Prospective observational studies are necessary to clarify whether this attitude is justified.


Cite This Article

Arslani, K., Notz, L., Zurek, M., Greutmann, M., Schwerzmann, M. et al. (2018). Anticoagulation practices in adults with congenital heart disease and atrial arrhythmias in Switzerland. Congenital Heart Disease, 13(5), 678–684.

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