Osteoporotic Fractures in Patients With Atrial Fibrillation Treated With Conventional Versus Direct Anticoagulants


Elderly patients in long-term treatment with vitamin K antagonists (VKAs) are at high risk of osteoporotic fractures compared with the background population. It has been speculated that the choice of oral anticoagulant (OAC) may affect the risk of osteoporotic fractures.


The risk of osteoporotic fractures was evaluated among patients with atrial fibrillation treated with VKA or direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs).


Patients were identified using the Danish national registries. Patients were included only if they had no prior use of osteoporosis medication and they had undergone 180 days of OAC treatment. Outcomes were hip fracture, major osteoporotic fracture, any fracture, initiation of osteoporosis medication, and a combined endpoint.


Overall, 37,350 patients were included. The standardized absolute 2-year risk of any fracture was low among DOAC-treated patients (3.1%; 95% CI: 2.9% to 3.3%) and among VKA-treated patients (3.8%; 95% CI: 3.4% to 4.2%). DOAC was associated with a significantly lower relative risk of any fracture (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.85; 95% CI: 0.74 to 0.97), major osteoporotic fractures (HR: 0.85; 95% CI: 0.72 to 0.99), and initiating osteoporotic medication (HR: 0.82; 95% CI: 0.71 to 0.95). A combined endpoint showed that patients treated with DOAC had a significantly lower relative risk of experiencing any fracture or initiating osteoporosis medication (HR: 0.84; 95% CI: 0.76 to 0.93).


In a nationwide population, the absolute risk of osteoporotic fractures was low among patients with atrial fibrillation on OAC, but DOAC was associated with a significantly lower risk of osteoporotic fractures compared with VKA.

 2019 Oct 29;74(17):2150-2158. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2019.08.1025.