A Comparison of Anticoagulation, Antiplatelet, and Placebo Treatment for Patients with Heart Failure Reduced Ejection Fraction in Sinus Rhythm: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Previous meta-analyses have not recommended routine warfarin use in heart failure (HF) patients but included limited data on contemporary anticoagulants and practices. We conducted an updated meta-analysis considering newer literature evaluating rivaroxaban in this patient population. The aim of this meta-analysis was to assess if anticoagulation is associated with a decrease in all-cause mortality, myocardial infarction (MI), stroke, and hospitalization for HF exacerbation without an increased risk of major bleeding. A systematic search was conducted for randomized controlled trials to evaluate the use of antithrombotic therapy in patients with HF in sinus rhythm. Outcomes evaluated included all-cause mortality (ACM), non-fatal stroke, MI, hospitalization for HF exacerbation, and major bleeding. Five trials met criteria with a total of 9390 patients included. Four of the five trials evaluated warfarin use and one trial evaluated rivaroxaban. When anticoagulation was compared to control (antiplatelet and placebo groups), a significant reduction in ischemic stroke was found (OR 0.57; 95% CI, 0.42 to 0.78; P = 0.0005, I2 = 6.9%) and no significant difference was found in the risk of ACM, MI, or HF hospitalization. A significant increase in major bleeding was observed in the anticoagulation group when compared to the control group (OR 2.00; 95% CI, 1.45 to 2.75; P = < 0.0001, I2 = 25.79%). Anticoagulation in HF patients in normal sinus rhythm does not appear to reduce mortality rate, prevent MI, or decrease HF hospitalizations. Use reduces risk of ischemic stroke but is counterbalanced with an increase in major bleeding.