Seasonal Variations in the Incidence of Ischemic Stroke, Extracranial and Intracranial Hemorrhage in Atrial Fibrillation Patients


Ischemic stroke (IS) and major bleeding, which are serious adverse events in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF), could have seasonal variations, but there are few reports.Methods and Results:In the Shinken Database 2004-2016 (n=22,018), 3,581 AF patients (average age, 63.5 years; 2,656 men, 74.2%; 1,388 persistent AF, 38.8%) were identified. Median CHADS2and HAS-BLED scores were both 1 point. Oral anticoagulants were prescribed for 2,082 (58.1%) patients (warfarin, 1,214; direct oral anticoagulants [DOACs], 868). Incidence and observation period (maximum 3 years) of IS, extracranial hemorrhage (ECH), and intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) were counted separately for the northern hemisphere seasons. During the mean follow-up period of 2.4 years, there were totals of 90 IS, 73 ECH, and 33 ICH cases. The respective incidence rates per 1,000 patient-years in spring, summer, autumn, and winter were 8.5, 8.8, 7.5, and 16.8 for IS, 7.2, 9.7, 3.8, and 13.1 for ECH, and 2.7, 1.9, 3.8, and 7.0 for ICH. The number of patients with DOACs relatively increased among those with ECH in summer.


Significant seasonal variations were observed for IS, ECH, and ICH events in AF patients, and were consistently the highest in winter. A small peak of ECH was observed in summer, which seemed, in part, to be related to increased DOAC use.