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Postdischarge International Normalized Ratio Testing and Long‐term Clinical Outcomes of Patients With Heart Failure Receiving Warfarin: Findings From the ADHERE Registry Linked to Medicare Claims

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Effective warfarin thromboprophylaxis requires maintaining anticoagulation within the recommended international normalized ratio (INR) range. INR testing rates and associations between testing and outcomes are not well understood.


INR testing rates after hospitalization for acute decompensated heart failure are suboptimal, and testing is associated with lower risks of mortality and adverse clinical events.


We conducted a retrospective cohort study of patients who were long-term warfarin users and were hospitalized for heart failure, had a medical history of atrial fibrillation or valvular heart disease, and were enrolled in fee-for-service Medicare. INR testing was defined as ≥1 outpatient INR test within 45 days after discharge. Using Cox proportional hazards models, we examined associations between testing and all-cause mortality, all-cause readmission, and adverse clinical events at 1 year.


Among 8558 patients, 7722 (90.2%) were tested. After 1 year, tested patients had lower all-cause mortality (23.5% vs 32.6%; P < 0.001) and fewer myocardial infarctions (2.0% vs 3.3%; P = 0.02). These differences remained significant after multivariable adjustment with hazard ratios of 0.72 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.63-0.84; P < 0.001) and 0.58 (95% CI: 0.41-0.83; P = 0.003), respectively. Differences in all-cause readmission, thromboembolic events, ischemic stroke, and bleeding events were not statistically significant.


Postdischarge outpatient INR testing in patients with heart failure complicated by atrial fibrillation or valvular heart disease was high. INR testing was associated with improved survival and fewer myocardial infarctions at 1 year but was not independently associated with other adverse clinical events.

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