Publications by authors named "Scott D Berkowitz"

123 Publications

Reduction in Acute Limb Ischemia with Rivaroxaban versus Placebo in Peripheral Artery Disease after Lower Extremity Revascularization: Insights from VOYAGER PAD.

Circulation 2021 Oct 12. Epub 2021 Oct 12.

Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, CO; CPC Clinical Research, Aurora, CO.

Patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD) are at heightened risk of acute limb ischemia (ALI), a thrombotic event associated with amputation, disability, and mortality. Prior lower extremity revascularization (LER) is associated with increased ALI risk in chronic PAD. However, the pattern of risk, clinical correlates, and outcomes after ALI early after LER are not well-studied, and effective therapies to reduce ALI post-LER are lacking. VOYAGER PAD (NCT02504216) randomized patients with PAD undergoing LER to rivaroxaban 2.5 mg twice daily or placebo on a background of low-dose aspirin. The primary outcome was a composite of ALI, major amputation of vascular cause, myocardial infarction, ischemic stroke, or cardiovascular death. ALI was prospectively ascertained and adjudicated by a blinded committee. The cumulative incidence of ALI was calculated using Kaplan Meier estimates, and Cox proportional-hazards models were used to generate hazard ratios and associated confidence intervals. Analyses were performed as intention-to-treat. Among 6,564 patients followed for a median of 2.3 years, 382 (5.8%) had a total of 508 ALI events. In placebo patients, the 3-year cumulative incidence of ALI was 7.8%. After multivariable modeling, prior LER, baseline ABI <0.50, surgical LER, and longer target lesion length were associated with increased risk of ALI. Incident ALI was associated with subsequent all-cause mortality (HR 2.59, 95% CI 1.98-3.39) and major amputation (HR 24.87, 95% CI 18.68-33.12). Rivaroxaban reduced ALI relative to placebo by 33% (absolute risk reduction 2.6% at 3 years, HR 0.67, 95% CI 0.55-0.82, P=0.0001), with benefit starting early (HR 0.45, 95% CI 0.24-0.85, P=0.0068 at 30 days). Benefit was present for severe ALI (associated with death, amputation, or prolonged hospitalization and ICU stay, HR 0.58, 95% CI 0.40-0.83, P=0.003) and regardless of LER type (surgical vs endovascular revascularization, p-interaction=0.42) or clopidogrel use (p-interaction=0.59). After LER for symptomatic PAD, ALI is frequent, particularly early after LER, and is associated with poor prognosis. Low-dose rivaroxaban plus aspirin reduces ALI after LER, including ALI events associated with the most severe outcomes. The benefit of rivaroxaban for ALI appears early, continues over time, and is consistent regardless of revascularization approach or clopidogrel use.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.121.055146DOI Listing
October 2021

Termination Based on Event Accrual in Per Protocol Versus Intention to Treat in the ROCKET AF Trial.

J Am Heart Assoc 2021 Oct 25;10(19):e022485. Epub 2021 Sep 25.

Duke Clinical Research Institute Duke University Durham NC.

Background In event-driven clinical trials, study termination is based on accrual of a target number of primary efficacy events. For noninferiority trials in which superiority is conditionally examined, the ideal cohort in which to track event accrual is unclear. We used data from the ROCKET AF (Rivaroxaban Once Daily Oral Direct Factor Xa Inhibition Compared With Vitamin K Antagonism for Prevention of Stroke and Embolism Trial in Atrial Fibrillation) trial to determine the effect of primary efficacy-event tracking in the per-protocol cohort during the on-treatment period versus the intention-to-treat (ITT) cohort during the ITT period. Methods and Results ROCKET AF was terminated after accruing 429 primary efficacy events (stroke or systemic embolism) in the per-protocol cohort during the on-treatment period for noninferiority. We identified the date on which 429 events occurred in the ITT cohort during the ITT period. We performed noninferiority and superiority analyses based on hypothetical study termination on this date. ROCKET AF would have terminated 226 days earlier if events were tracked during the ITT period. Similar to the main trial findings, rivaroxaban would have met noninferiority versus warfarin for the primary efficacy end point (hazard ratio [HR], 0.77; 95% CI, 0.62-0.96; <0.001). In contrast to the main trial findings, rivaroxaban would have met superiority for the primary efficacy end point (HR, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.68-0.99; =0.038). In both termination scenarios, rivaroxaban was associated with a lower risk of intracranial hemorrhage and similar risk of other safety end points. Conclusions Clinical trial termination based on event accrual in the ITT cohort versus the per-protocol cohort may have important implications on trial results depending on rates of study drug discontinuation and event rates off treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.121.022485DOI Listing
October 2021

Frequency and Patterns of Brain Infarction in Patients With Embolic Stroke of Undetermined Source: NAVIGATE ESUS Trial.

Stroke 2021 Sep 20:STROKEAHA120032976. Epub 2021 Sep 20.

Population Health Research Institute, Hamilton Health Sciences, Ontario, Canada (R.G.H., S.J.C.).

Background And Purpose: The spectrum of brain infarction in patients with embolic stroke of undetermined source (ESUS) has not been well characterized. Our objective was to define the frequency and pattern of brain infarcts detected by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) among patients with recent ESUS participating in a clinical trial.

Methods: In the NAVIGATE ESUS trial (New Approach Rivaroxaban Inhibition of Factor Xa in a Global Trial Versus ASA to Prevent Embolism in Embolic Stroke of Undetermined Source), an MRI substudy was carried out at 87 sites in 15 countries. Participants underwent an MRI using a specified protocol near randomization. Images were interpreted centrally by those unaware of clinical characteristics.

Results: Among the 918 substudy cohort participants, the mean age was 67 years and 60% were men with a median (interquartile range) of 64 (26-115) days between the qualifying ischemic stroke and MRI. On MRI, 855 (93%) had recent or chronic brain infarcts that were multiple in 646 (70%) and involved multiple arterial territories in 62% (401/646). Multiple brain infarcts were present in 68% (510/755) of those without a history of stroke or transient ischemic attack before the qualifying ESUS. Prior stroke/transient ischemic attack (<0.001), modified Rankin Scale score >0 (<0.001), and current tobacco use (=0.01) were associated with multiple infarcts. Topographically, large and/or cortical infarcts were present in 89% (757/855) of patients with infarcts, while in 11% (98/855) infarcts were exclusively small and subcortical. Among those with multiple large and/or cortical infarcts, 57% (251/437) had one or more involving a different vascular territory from the qualifying ESUS.

Conclusions: Most patients with ESUS, including those without prior clinical stroke or transient ischemic attack, had multiple large and/or cortical brain infarcts detected by MRI, reflecting a substantial burden of clinical stroke and covert brain infarction. Infarcts most frequently involved multiple vascular territories.

Registration: URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov; Unique identifier: NCT02313909.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/STROKEAHA.120.032976DOI Listing
September 2021

Low-dose rivaroxaban and aspirin among patients with peripheral artery disease: a meta-analysis of the COMPASS and VOYAGER trials.

Eur J Prev Cardiol 2021 Aug 31. Epub 2021 Aug 31.

Department of Cardiology, University of Colorado School of Medicine, 13001 E 17th Pl, Boulder, Colorado 80045, USA.

Aims: Peripheral artery disease (PAD) patients suffer a high risk of major cardiovascular (CV) events, with athero-thrombo-embolism as the underlying pathophysiologic mechanism. Recently, two large randomized clinical trials evaluated the efficacy and safety of low-dose rivaroxaban twice daily plus aspirin in stable PAD outpatients and those immediately after peripheral revascularization. We sought to determine if the effects of low-dose rivaroxaban and aspirin compared to aspirin alone are consistent across this broad spectrum of PAD patients.

Methods And Results: We conducted a random-effects meta-analysis of the COMPASS and VOYAGER randomized trials among 11 560 PAD patients (4996 from COMPASS and 6564 from VOYAGER) in the primary analysis and 9332 (2768 from COMPASS and 6564 from VOYAGER) with lower extremity (LE)-PAD in the secondary analysis. The hazard ratio (HR) for the composite of CV death, myocardial infarction, ischaemic stroke, acute limb ischaemia, or major vascular amputation was 0.79 (95% confidence interval, CI: 0.65-0.95) comparing low-dose rivaroxaban plus aspirin to aspirin alone. While the risk of major bleeding was increased with low-dose rivaroxaban plus aspirin compared to aspirin alone [HR: 1.51 (95% CI: 1.22-1.87)], there was no significant increase in severe bleeding [HR: 1.18 (95% CI: 0.79-1.76)]. Similar effects were observed in the subset with symptomatic LE-PAD.

Conclusions: Among PAD patients, low-dose rivaroxaban plus aspirin is superior to aspirin alone in reducing CV and limb outcomes including acute limb ischaemia and major vascular amputation. This reduction is offset by a relative increase in major bleeding, but not by an excess of fatal or critical organ bleeding. The consistency of findings of these trials supports the use of combination low-dose rivaroxaban plus aspirin in PAD patients across a broad spectrum of disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurjpc/zwab128DOI Listing
August 2021

Low-dose rivaroxaban plus aspirin in older patients with peripheral artery disease undergoing acute limb revascularization: insights from the VOYAGER PAD trial.

Eur Heart J 2021 10;42(39):4040-4048

CPC Clinical Research, 2115 N Scranton Street, Suite 2040, Aurora, CO, USA.

Aims: In this secondary analysis of the VOYAGER trial, rivaroxaban 2.5 mg twice/day plus aspirin 100 mg/day was assessed in older adults. Advanced age is associated with elevated bleeding risk and unfavourable net benefit for dual antiplatelet therapy in chronic coronary artery disease. The risk-benefit of low-dose rivaroxaban in patients ≥75 years with peripheral artery disease (PAD) after lower extremity revascularization (LER) has not been described.

Methods And Results: The primary endpoint was a composite of acute limb ischaemia, major amputation, myocardial infarction, ischaemic stroke, or cardiovascular death. The principal safety outcome was thrombolysis in myocardial infarction (TIMI) major bleeding analysed by the pre-specified age cut-off of 75 years. Of 6564 patients randomized, 1330 (20%) were >75 years. Absolute 3-year Kaplan-Meier cumulative incidence rates for primary efficacy (23.4% vs. 19.0%) and safety (3.5% vs. 1.5%) endpoints were higher in elderly vs. non-elderly patients. Efficacy of rivaroxaban (P-interaction 0.83) and safety (P-interaction 0.38) was consistent irrespective of age. The combination of intracranial and fatal bleeding was not increased in patients >75 years (2 rivaroxaban vs. 8 placebo). Overall, benefits (absolute risk reduction 3.8%, number needed to treat 26 for the primary endpoint) exceeded risks (absolute risk increase 0.81%, number needed to harm 123 for TIMI major bleeding).

Conclusion: Patients ≥75 years with PAD are at both heightened ischaemic and bleeding risk after LER. No excess harm with respect to major, intracranial or fatal bleeding was seen in older patients yet numerically greater absolute benefits were observed. This suggests that low-dose rivaroxaban combined with aspirin should be considered in PAD after LER regardless of age.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehab408DOI Listing
October 2021

Effect of Rivaroxaban and Aspirin in Patients With Peripheral Artery Disease Undergoing Surgical Revascularization: Insights From the VOYAGER PAD Trial.

Circulation 2021 Oct 12;144(14):1104-1116. Epub 2021 Aug 12.

CPC Clinical Research, Aurora, CO (M.R.N., N.G., W.H.C., T.B., N.J., C.N.H., W.R.H., M.P.B.).

Background: Patients with peripheral artery disease requiring lower extremity revascularization (LER) are at high risk of adverse limb and cardiovascular events. The VOYAGER PAD trial (Vascular Outcomes Study of ASA [Acetylsalicylic Acid] Along With Rivaroxaban in Endovascular or Surgical Limb Revascularization for PAD) demonstrated that rivaroxaban significantly reduced this risk. The efficacy and safety of rivaroxaban has not been described in patients who underwent surgical LER.

Methods: The VOYAGER PAD trial randomized patients with peripheral artery disease after surgical and endovascular LER to rivaroxaban 2.5 mg twice daily plus aspirin or matching placebo plus aspirin and followed for a median of 28 months. The primary end point was a composite of acute limb ischemia, major vascular amputation, myocardial infarction, ischemic stroke, or cardiovascular death. The principal safety outcome was Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction major bleeding. International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis bleeding was a secondary safety outcome. All efficacy and safety outcomes were adjudicated by a blinded independent committee.

Results: Of the 6564 randomized, 2185 (33%) underwent surgical LER and 4379 (67%) endovascular. Compared with placebo, rivaroxaban reduced the primary end point consistently regardless of LER method (-interaction, 0.43). After surgical LER, the primary efficacy outcome occurred in 199 (18.4%) patients in the rivaroxaban group and 242 (22.0%) patients in the placebo group with a cumulative incidence at 3 years of 19.7% and 23.9%, respectively (hazard ratio, 0.81 [95% CI, 0.67-0.98]; =0.026). In the overall trial, Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction major bleeding and International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis major bleeding were increased with rivaroxaban. There was no heterogeneity for Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction major bleeding (-interaction, 0.17) or International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis major bleeding (-interaction, 0.73) on the basis of the LER approach. After surgical LER, the principal safety outcome occurred in 11 (1.0%) patients in the rivaroxaban group and 13 (1.2%) patients in the placebo group; 3-year cumulative incidence was 1.3% and 1.4%, respectively (hazard ratio, 0.88 [95% CI, 0.39-1.95]; =0.75) Among surgical patients, the composite of fatal bleeding or intracranial hemorrhage (=0.95) and postprocedural bleeding requiring intervention (=0.93) was not significantly increased.

Conclusions: The efficacy of rivaroxaban is associated with a benefit in patients who underwent surgical LER. Although bleeding was increased with rivaroxaban plus aspirin, the incidence was low, with no significant increase in fatal bleeding, intracranial hemorrhage, or postprocedural bleeds requiring intervention. Registration: URL: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov; Unique Identifier: NCT02504216.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.121.054835DOI Listing
October 2021

Pharmacotherapy for diabetes and stroke risk: Results from ROCKET AF.

Heart Rhythm O2 2021 Jun 20;2(3):215-222. Epub 2021 Apr 20.

Duke University Medical Center, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina.

Background: Insulin use may be a better predictor of stroke risk and morbidity and mortality than diabetes in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF).

Objectives: Determine if the increased risk of stroke observed in patients with AF and diabetes is restricted to those treated with insulin.

Methods: We analyzed the association between diabetes and treatment and the occurrence of stroke/systemic embolism, myocardial infarction (MI), all-cause death, vascular death, composite outcomes, and bleeding risk in the ROCKET AF trial.

Results: In a cohort of 14,264 patients, there were 40.3% (n = 5746) with diabetes, 5.9% (n = 842) on insulin, 18.9% (n = 2697) on oral medications, and 11.9% (n = 1703) diet-controlled. Compared to those without diabetes, patients with non-insulin-treated diabetes had increased risks of stroke (hazard ratio [HR] 1.33, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.06-1.68), MI (HR 1.64, 95% CI 1.17-2.30), all-cause death (HR 1.26, 95% CI 1.08-1.46), vascular death (HR 1.33, 95% CI 1.11-1.60), and composite outcomes (HR 1.37, 95% CI 1.18-1.157). Patients with insulin-treated diabetes had a significantly higher risk of MI (HR 2.31, 95% CI 1.33-4.01) and composite outcomes (HR 1.57, 95% CI 1.19-2.08) compared to those without diabetes. There were no significant differences between insulin-treated and non-insulin-treated diabetes for any outcome.

Conclusion: Among patients with AF and diabetes, there were no significant differences in outcomes in insulin-treated diabetes compared to non-insulin-treated diabetes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hroo.2021.04.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8322824PMC
June 2021

Mortality Benefit of Rivaroxaban Plus Aspirin in Patients With Chronic Coronary or Peripheral Artery Disease.

J Am Coll Cardiol 2021 07;78(1):14-23

Population Health Research Institute, Hamilton Ontario, Canada; Hamilton Health Sciences, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; Department of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Background: The combination of 2.5 mg rivaroxaban twice daily and 100 mg aspirin once daily compared with 100 mg aspirin once daily reduces major adverse cardiovascular (CV) events in patients with chronic coronary artery disease (CAD) or peripheral artery disease (PAD).

Objectives: The aim of this work was to report the effects of the combination on overall and cause-specific mortality.

Methods: The COMPASS trial enrolled 27,395 patients of whom 18,278 were randomized to the combination (n = 9,152) or aspirin alone (n = 9,126). Deaths were adjudicated by a committee blinded to treatment allocation. Previously identified high-risk baseline features were polyvascular disease, chronic kidney disease, mild or moderate heart failure, and diabetes.

Results: During a median of 23 months of follow-up (maximum 47 months), 313 patients (3.4%) allocated to the combination and 378 patients (4.1%) allocated to aspirin alone died (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.82; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.71-0.96; P = 0.01). Compared with aspirin, the combination reduced CV death (160 [1.7%] vs 203 [2.2%]; HR: 0.78; 95% CI: 0.64-0.96; P = 0.02) but not non-CV death. There were fewer deaths following MI, stroke, and CV procedures, as well as fewer sudden cardiac, other, and unknown causes of CV deaths and coronary heart disease deaths. Patients with 0, 1, 2, and 3 or 4 high-risk features at baseline had 4.2, 4.8, 25.0, and 53.9 fewer deaths, respectively, per 1000 patients treated for 30 months.

Conclusions: The combination of rivaroxaban and aspirin compared with aspirin reduced overall and CV mortality with consistent reductions in cause specific CV mortality in patients with chronic CAD or PAD. The absolute mortality benefits are greater with increasing baseline risk. (Cardiovascular Outcomes for People Using Anticoagulant Strategies [COMPASS]; NCT01776424).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2021.04.083DOI Listing
July 2021

Low-dose rivaroxaban plus aspirin in patients with polypharmacy and multimorbidity: an analysis from the COMPASS trial.

Eur Heart J Cardiovasc Pharmacother 2021 Jun 30. Epub 2021 Jun 30.

Population Health Research Institute, McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences, Hamilton, ON, Canada.

Background: In patients with coronary or peripheral arterial disease, adding low dose rivaroxaban to aspirin reduces cardiovascular events and mortality. Polypharmacy and multimorbidity are frequent in such patients.

Aims: To analyze whether the benefits and risks of rivaroxaban plus aspirin varies in patients with comorbidities and receiving multiple drugs.

Methods And Results: We describe ischemic events (cardiovascular death, stroke, or myocardial infarction) and major bleeding in participants from the randomised, double-blind COMPASS study by number of cardiovascular medications and concomitant medical conditions. We compared event rates and hazard ratios (HR) for rivaroxaban plus aspirin versus aspirin alone by the number of medications and concomitant conditions, and tested for interaction between polypharmacy or multimorbidity and the antithrombotic regimen.The risk of ischemic events was higher in patients with more concomitant drugs (HR 1.7, 95%CI 1.5-2.1 for >4 vs 0-2) and with more comorbidities (HR 2.3, 1.8-2.1 for >3 vs 0-1). Multimorbidity, but not polypharmacy, was associated with a higher risk of major bleeding. The relative efficacy, safety, and net clinical benefit of rivaroxaban were not affected by the number of drugs or comorbidities. Patients taking more concomitant medications derived the largest absolute reduction in the net clinical outcome with added rivaroxaban (1.1% vs 0.4% reduction with >4 vs 0-2 cardiovascular drugs, NNT 91 vs 250).

Conclusion: Adding low-dose rivaroxaban to aspirin resulted in benefits irrespective of the number of concomitant drugs or comorbidities. Multiple comorbidities and/or polypharmacy should not dissuade the addition of rivaroxaban to aspirin in otherwise eligible patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ehjcvp/pvab050DOI Listing
June 2021

Cardiovascular consequences of discontinuing low-dose rivaroxaban in people with chronic coronary or peripheral artery disease.

Heart 2021 Jul 21;107(14):1130-1137. Epub 2021 May 21.

Population Health Research Institute, Hamilton Health Sciences/McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Objective: In patients with chronic coronary or peripheral artery disease enrolled in the Cardiovascular Outcomes for People Using Anticoagulation Strategies trial, randomised antithrombotic treatments were stopped after a median follow-up of 23 months because of benefits of the combination of rivaroxaban 2.5 mg two times per day and aspirin 100 mg once daily compared with aspirin 100 mg once daily. We assessed the effect of switching to non-study aspirin at the time of early stopping.

Methods: Incident composite of myocardial infarction, stroke or cardiovascular death was estimated per 100 person-years (py) during randomised treatment (n=18 278) and after study treatment discontinuation to non-study aspirin (n=14 068).

Results: During randomised treatment, the combination compared with aspirin reduced the composite (2.2 vs 2.9/100 py, HR: 0.76, 95% CI 0.66 to 0.86), stroke (0.5 vs 0.8/100 py, HR: 0.58, 95% CI 0.44 to 0.76) and cardiovascular death (0.9 vs 1.2/100 py, HR: 0.78, 95% CI 0.64 to 0.96). During 1.02 years after early stopping, participants originally randomised to the combination compared with those randomised to aspirin had similar rates of the composite (2.1 vs 2.0/100 py, HR: 1.08, 95% CI 0.84 to 1.39) and cardiovascular death (1.0 vs 0.8/100 py, HR: 1.26, 95% CI 0.85 to 1.86) but higher stroke rate (0.7 vs 0.4/100 py, HR: 1.74, 95% CI 1.05 to 2.87) including a significant increase in ischaemic stroke during the first 6 months after switching to non-study aspirin.

Conclusion: Discontinuing study rivaroxaban and aspirin to non-study aspirin was associated with the loss of cardiovascular benefits and a stroke excess.

Trial Registration Number: NCT01776424.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/heartjnl-2020-318758DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8257559PMC
July 2021

Total Ischemic Event Reduction With Rivaroxaban After Peripheral Arterial Revascularization in the VOYAGER PAD Trial.

J Am Coll Cardiol 2021 Jul 16;78(4):317-326. Epub 2021 May 16.

CPC Clinical Research, Aurora, Colorado, USA; Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado, USA. Electronic address:

Background: Patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD) undergoing lower extremity revascularization (LER) are at high risk of major adverse limb and cardiovascular events. The VOYAGER PAD (Efficacy and Safety of Rivaroxaban in Reducing the Risk of Major Thrombotic Vascular Events in Subjects With Symptomatic Peripheral Artery Disease Undergoing Peripheral Revascularization Procedures of the Lower Extremities) trial demonstrated that rivaroxaban 2.5 mg twice daily reduced first events by 15%. The benefit of rivaroxaban on total (first and subsequent) events in this population is unknown.

Objectives: This study sought to evaluate the total burden of vascular events in patients with PAD after LER and the efficacy of low-dose rivaroxaban on total events.

Methods: VOYAGER PAD randomized patients with PAD undergoing LER to rivaroxaban 2.5 mg twice daily plus aspirin or aspirin alone. The primary endpoint was time to first event of acute limb ischemia, major amputation of a vascular cause, myocardial infarction, ischemic stroke, or cardiovascular death. The current analysis considered all events (first and subsequent) for components of the primary endpoint as well as additional vascular events including peripheral revascularizations and venous thromboembolism. HRs were estimated by marginal proportional hazards models.

Results: Among 6,564 randomized events, there were 4,714 total first and subsequent vascular events including 1,614 primary endpoint events and 3,100 other vascular events. Rivaroxaban reduced total primary endpoint events (HR: 0.86; 95% CI: 0.75-0.98; P = 0.02) and total vascular events (HR: 0.86; 95% CI: 0.79-0.95; P = 0.003). An estimated 4.4 primary and 12.5 vascular events per 100 participants were avoided with rivaroxaban over 3 years.

Conclusions: Patients with symptomatic PAD who are undergoing LER have a high total event burden that is significantly reduced with rivaroxaban. Total event reduction may be a useful metric to quantify the efficacy of rivaroxaban in this setting. (Efficacy and Safety of Rivaroxaban in Reducing the Risk of Major Thrombotic Vascular Events in Subjects With Symptomatic Peripheral Artery Disease Undergoing Peripheral Revascularization Procedures of the Lower Extremities [VOYAGER PAD]; NCT02504216).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2021.05.003DOI Listing
July 2021

Risk stratification of cardiovascular complications using CHADS-VASc and CHADS scores in chronic atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

Int J Cardiol 2021 Aug 3;337:9-15. Epub 2021 May 3.

Cardiology Research Unit, University Hospital Geelong, Barwon Health, Geelong, Australia.

Background The COMPASS (Cardiovascular Outcomes for People Using Anticoagulation Strategies) trial showed that rivaroxaban plus aspirin reduced major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) in patients with chronic coronary artery disease (CAD) and/or peripheral artery disease (PAD). We explored whether CHADS-VASc or CHADS scores, well-validated tools for assessing risk of thromboembolic events in atrial fibrillation, can identify vascular patients at highest risk of recurrent events who may derive greatest benefits of treatment. Methods Predictive accuracies of the CHADS-VASc and CHADS scores for MACE, were assessed in this analysis of the COMPASS trial. Kaplan-Meier estimates of cumulative risk were used to compare the effects of rivaroxaban plus aspirin (n = 9152) with aspirin alone (n = 9126) according to risk scores. Results High CHADS-VASc (6-9) or CHADS (3-6) scores were associated with over three times greater absolute risk of MACE compared with CHADS-VASc score of 1-2 or CHADS score of 0. The effects of rivaroxaban plus aspirin compared with aspirin alone were consistent across CHADS-VASc and CHADS score categories for MACE, bleeding and net clinical benefit, with greatest reduction in MACE observed in patients treated for 30 months with highest CHADS score (3-6) (hazard ratio = 0.67, 95% CI: 0.53-0.86, p = 0.0012, 25 events per 1000 patients prevented). Conclusion The CHADS-VASc and CHADS scores can be used in patients with chronic CAD and/or PAD to identify patients who are at highest risk of MACE. Those identified at highest risk by CHADS scores had greatest benefit from dual pathway inhibition with rivaroxaban plus aspirin. Clinical Trial Registration: NCT01776424.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcard.2021.04.067DOI Listing
August 2021

Rivaroxaban versus warfarin in patients with atrial fibrillation enrolled in Latin America: Insights from ROCKET AF.

Am Heart J 2021 06 8;236:4-12. Epub 2021 Feb 8.

Division of Cardiology, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC; Duke Clinical Research Institute, Durham, NC. Electronic address:

Background: ROCKET AF demonstrated the efficacy and safety of rivaroxaban compared with warfarin for the prevention of stroke and systemic embolism (SE) in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). We examined baseline characteristics and outcomes in patients enrolled in Latin America compared with the rest of the world (ROW).

Methods: ROCKET AF enrolled 14,264 patients from 45 countries. Of these, 1,878 (13.2%) were from 7 Latin American countries. The clinical characteristics and outcomes (adjusted by baseline characteristics) of these patients were compared with 12,293 patients from the ROW. Treatment outcomes of rivaroxaban compared with warfarin were also stratified by region.

Results: The annual rate of stroke/SE was similar in those from Latin American and ROW (P= .63), but all-cause and vascular death were significantly higher than in ROW (HR 1.40, 95% CI 1.20-1.64; HR 1.38, 95% CI 1.14-1.68; P< .001). Rates of major or nonmajor clinically relevant bleeding tended to be lower in Latin America (HR 0.89, 95% CI 0.80-1.0; P= .05). Rates of stroke and/or SE were similar with rivaroxaban and warfarin in patients from Latin America and ROW (HR 0.83, 95% CI 0.54-1.29 vs HR 0.89, 95% CI 0.75-1.07; interaction P= .77).

Conclusions: Patients with AF in Latin America had similar rates of stroke and/or SE, higher rates of vascular death, and lower rates of bleeding compared with patients in the ROW. The effect of rivaroxaban compared with warfarin in Latin America was similar to the ROW. Further studies analyzing patient- and country-specific determinants of these regional differences in Latin America are warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ahj.2021.02.004DOI Listing
June 2021

Rivaroxaban Plus Aspirin in Obese and Overweight Patients With Vascular Disease in the COMPASS Trial.

J Am Coll Cardiol 2021 02;77(5):511-525

Population Health Research Institute, McMaster University, Hamilton Health Sciences, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; Department of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Background: Direct oral anticoagulants are administered in fixed doses irrespective of body weight, but guidelines recommend against their use in patients with extremes of body weight.

Objectives: This study determined the effects of dual-pathway inhibition antithrombotic regimen (rivaroxaban 2.5 mg twice daily plus aspirin 100 mg/day) compared with aspirin Halone across a range of patient body mass indexes (BMIs) and body weights.

Methods: This was a secondary analysis of the COMPASS (Cardiovascular OutcoMes for People using Anticoagulation StrategieS) trial, which included patients with chronic coronary artery disease or peripheral artery disease. Efficacy and safety outcomes were studied in relation to BMI: (normal 18.5 ≤BMI <25 kg/m, overweight 25 ≤BMI <30 kg/m, obese ≥30 kg/m) and body weight (≤70 kg, 70 < weight ≤90 kg, and >90 kg; as well as ≤120 kg vs. >120 kg).

Results: Among 27,395 randomized patients, 6,459 (24%) had normal BMI, 12,047 (44%) were overweight, and 8,701 (32%) were obese. The combination of rivaroxaban and aspirin compared with aspirin produced a consistent reduction in the primary outcome of cardiovascular death, stroke, or myocardial infarction, irrespective of BMI or body weight. For 18.5 ≤BMI <25 kg/m: 3.5% vs. 5.0%; hazard ratio (HR): 0.73 (95% credible interval [CrI]: 0.58 to 0.90); 25 ≤ BMI <30 kg/m: 4.3% vs. 5.1%; HR: 0.80 (95% CrI: 0.66 to 0.96); BMI ≥30 kg/m: 4.2% vs. 6.1%; HR: 0.71 (95% CrI: 0.57 to 0.86). For body weight ≤70 kg: 4.1% vs. 5.3%; HR: 0.75 (95% CrI: 0.62 to 0.91); 70 < weight ≤90 kg: 4.1% vs. 5.3%; HR: 0.76 (95% CrI: 0.65 to 0.89); >90 kg: 4.2% vs. 5.7%; HR: 0.74 (95% CrI: 0.61 to 0.90). Effects on bleeding, mortality, and net clinical benefit were consistent irrespective of BMI or bodyweight.

Conclusions: The effects of dual-pathway antithrombotic therapy are consistent irrespective of BMI or body weight, suggesting no need for dose adjustments in the ranges of weights and BMI of patients enrolled in the COMPASS trial. Further studies need to address this problem in relation to greater extremes of body weight. (Rivaroxaban for the Prevention of Major Cardiovascular Events in Coronary or Peripheral Artery Disease [COMPASS]; NCT01776424).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2020.11.061DOI Listing
February 2021

Safety and efficacy of rivaroxaban in pediatric cerebral venous thrombosis (EINSTEIN-Jr CVT).

Blood Adv 2020 12;4(24):6250-6258

Bayer AG, Wuppertal, Germany.

Anticoagulant treatment of pediatric cerebral venous thrombosis has not been evaluated in randomized trials. We evaluated the safety and efficacy of rivaroxaban and standard anticoagulants in the predefined subgroup of children with cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT) who participated in the EINSTEIN-Jr trial. Children with CVT were randomized (2:1), after initial heparinization, to treatment with rivaroxaban or standard anticoagulants (continued on heparin or switched to vitamin K antagonist). The main treatment period was 3 months. The primary efficacy outcome, symptomatic recurrent venous thromboembolism (VTE), and principal safety outcome, major or clinically relevant nonmajor bleeding,were centrally evaluated by blinded investigators. Sinus recanalization on repeat brain imaging was a secondary outcome. Statistical analyses were exploratory. In total, 114 children with confirmed CVT were randomized. All children completed the follow-up. None of the 73 rivaroxaban recipients and 1 (2.4%; CVT) of the 41 standard anticoagulant recipients had symptomatic, recurrent VTE after 3 months (absolute difference, 2.4%; 95% confidence interval [CI], -2.6% to 13.5%). Clinically relevant bleeding occurred in 5 (6.8%; all nonmajor and noncerebral) rivaroxaban recipients and in 1 (2.5%; major [subdural] bleeding) standard anticoagulant recipient (absolute difference, 4.4%; 95% CI, -6.7% to 13.4%). Complete or partial sinus recanalization occurred in 18 (25%) and 39 (53%) rivaroxaban recipients and in 6 (15%) and 24 (59%) standard anticoagulant recipients, respectively. In summary, in this substudy of a randomized trial with a limited sample size, children with CVT treated with rivaroxaban or standard anticoagulation had a low risk of recurrent VTE and clinically relevant bleeding. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT02234843.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2020003244DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7756994PMC
December 2020

Rivaroxaban and Aspirin in Peripheral Artery Disease Lower Extremity Revascularization: Impact of Concomitant Clopidogrel on Efficacy and Safety.

Circulation 2020 12 3;142(23):2219-2230. Epub 2020 Nov 3.

Department of Vascular Medicine, Klinikum Darmstadt GmbH, Germany (R.B.).

Background: The VOYAGER PAD trial (Vascular Outcomes Study of ASA Along With Rivaroxaban in Endovascular or Surgical Limb Revascularization for Peripheral Artery Disease) demonstrated superiority of rivaroxaban plus aspirin versus aspirin to reduce major cardiac and ischemic limb events after lower extremity revascularization. Clopidogrel is commonly used as a short-term adjunct to aspirin after endovascular revascularization. Whether clopidogrel modifies the efficacy and safety of rivaroxaban has not been described.

Methods: VOYAGER PAD was a phase 3, international, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in patients with symptomatic PAD undergoing lower extremity revascularization randomized to rivaroxaban 2.5 mg twice daily plus 100 mg aspirin daily or rivaroxaban placebo plus aspirin. The primary efficacy outcome was a composite of acute limb ischemia, major amputation of a vascular cause, myocardial infarction, ischemic stroke, or cardiovascular death. The principal safety end point was TIMI (Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction) major bleeding, with International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis major bleeding a secondary safety outcome. Clopidogrel use was allowed at the discretion of the investigator for up to 6 months after the qualifying revascularization.

Results: Of the randomized patients, 3313 (50.6%) received clopidogrel for a median duration of 29.0 days. Over 3 years, the hazard ratio for the primary outcome of rivaroxaban versus placebo was 0.85 (95% CI, 0.71-1.01) with clopidogrel and 0.86 (95% CI, 0.73-1.01) without clopidogrel without statistical heterogeneity ( for interaction=0.92). Rivaroxaban resulted in an early apparent reduction in acute limb ischemia within 30 days (hazard ratio, 0.45 [95% CI, 0.14-1.46] with clopidogrel; hazard ratio, 0.48 [95% CI, 0.22-1.01] without clopidogrel; for interaction=0.93). Compared with aspirin, rivaroxaban increased TIMI major bleeding similarly regardless of clopidogrel use ( for interaction=0.71). With clopidogrel use >30 days, rivaroxaban was associated with more International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis major bleeding within 365 days (hazard ratio, 3.20 [95% CI, 1.44-7.13]) compared with shorter durations of clopidogrel ( for trend=0.06).

Conclusions: In the VOYAGER PAD trial, rivaroxaban plus aspirin reduced the risk of adverse cardiovascular and limb events with an early benefit for acute limb ischemia regardless of clopidogrel use. The safety of rivaroxaban was consistent regardless of clopidogrel use but with a trend for more International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis major bleeding with clopidogrel use >30 days than with a shorter duration. These data support the addition of rivaroxaban to aspirin after lower extremity revascularization regardless of concomitant clopidogrel, with a short course (≤30 days) associated with less bleeding. Registration: URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov; Unique identifier: NCT02504216.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.120.050465DOI Listing
December 2020

Microbleeds and the Effect of Anticoagulation in Patients With Embolic Stroke of Undetermined Source: An Exploratory Analysis of the NAVIGATE ESUS Randomized Clinical Trial.

JAMA Neurol 2021 01;78(1):11-20

Division of Neurology, McMaster University / Population Health Research Institute, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Importance: The reported associations of cerebral microbleeds with recurrent stroke and intracerebral hemorrhage have raised concerns regarding antithrombotic treatment in patients with a history of stroke and microbleeds on magnetic resonance imaging.

Objective: To characterize microbleeds in embolic strokes of undetermined source (ESUS) and report interactions between microbleeds and the effects of random assignment to anticoagulant vs antiplatelet therapy.

Design, Setting, And Participants: Subgroup analyses of the New Approach Rivaroxaban Inhibition of Factor Xa in a Global Trial vs Aspirin to Prevent Embolism in ESUS (NAVIGATE ESUS) international, double-blind, randomized, event-driven phase 3 clinical trial. Participants were enrolled between December 2014 and September 2017 and followed up for a median of 11 months. The study setting included 459 stroke recruitment centers in 31 countries. Patients aged 50 years or older who had neuroimaging-confirmed ESUS between 7 days and 6 months before screening were eligible. Of these 7213 NAVIGATE ESUS participants, 3699 (51%) had information on cerebral microbleeds reported on their baseline clinical magnetic resonance imaging and were eligible for these analyses. Patients with a prior history of symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage were excluded from the NAVIGATE ESUS trial.

Interventions: Rivaroxaban, 15 mg, compared with aspirin, 100 mg, daily.

Main Outcomes And Measures: The primary outcome was recurrent stroke. Secondary outcomes were ischemic stroke, intracerebral hemorrhage, and all-cause mortality.

Results: Microbleeds were present in 395 of 3699 participants (11%). Of patients with cerebral microbleeds, mean (SD) age was 69.5 (9.4) years, 241 were men (61%), and 201 were White (51%). Advancing age (odds ratio [OR] per year, 1.03; 95% CI, 1.01-1.04), East Asian race/ethnicity (OR, 1.57; 95% CI, 1.04-2.37), hypertension (OR, 2.20; 95% CI, 1.54-3.15), multiterritorial infarcts (OR, 1.95; 95% CI, 1.42-2.67), chronic infarcts (OR, 1.78; 95% CI, 1.42-2.23), and occult intracerebral hemorrhage (OR, 5.23; 95% CI, 2.76-9.90) were independently associated with microbleeds. The presence of microbleeds was associated with a 1.5-fold increased risk of recurrent stroke (hazard ratio [HR], 1.5; 95% CI, 1.0-2.3), a 4-fold risk of intracerebral hemorrhage (HR, 4.2; 95% CI, 1.3-13.9), a 2-fold risk of all-cause mortality (HR, 2.1; 95% CI, 1.1-4.3), and strictly lobar microbleeds with an approximately 2.5-fold risk of ischemic stroke (HR, 2.3; 95% CI, 1.3-4.3). There were no interactions between microbleeds and treatment assignments for recurrent stroke, ischemic stroke, or all-cause mortality. The HR of intracerebral hemorrhage on rivaroxaban was similar between persons with microbleeds (HR, 3.1; 95% CI, 0.3-30.0) and persons without microbleeds (HR, 3.0; 95% CI, 0.6-14.7; interaction P = .97).

Conclusions And Relevance: Microbleeds mark an increased risk of recurrent stroke, ischemic stroke, intracerebral hemorrhage, and mortality in ESUS but do not appear to influence effects of rivaroxaban on clinical outcomes.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02313909.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamaneurol.2020.3836DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7573796PMC
January 2021

Safety and efficacy of anticoagulant therapy in pediatric catheter-related venous thrombosis (EINSTEIN-Jr CVC-VTE).

Blood Adv 2020 10;4(19):4632-4639

Department of Paediatrics, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Anticoagulant treatment of pediatric central venous catheter-related venous thromboembolism (CVC-VTE) has not been specifically evaluated. In EINSTEIN-Jr, 500 children with any VTE received rivaroxaban or standard anticoagulants. A predefined analysis of the CVC-VTE cohort was performed. Children with CVC-VTE (age, birth to 17 years) were administered rivaroxaban or standard anticoagulants during the 1-month (children <2 years) or 3-month (all other children) study period. Predefined outcomes were recurrent VTE, change in thrombotic burden on repeat imaging, and bleeding. Predictors for continuation of anticoagulant therapy beyond the study period were evaluated. One hundred twenty-six children with symptomatic (n = 76, 60%) or asymptomatic (n = 50, 40%) CVC-VTE received either rivaroxaban (n = 90) or standard anticoagulants (n = 36). There was no recurrent VTE (0%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.0%-2.8%). Three children had the principal safety outcome: none had major bleeding and 3 children had clinically relevant nonmajor bleeding (2.4%; 95% CI, 0.7%-6.5%), all in the rivaroxaban arm. Complete or partial vein recanalization occurred in 57 (55%) and 38 (37%) of 103 evaluable children, respectively. Results were similar for symptomatic and asymptomatic CVC-VTE. Continuation of anticoagulant therapy beyond the study period occurred in 61 (48%) of children and was associated with residual VTE but only in children <2 years (odds ratio [OR], 20.9; P = .003) and continued CVC use (OR, 6.7; P = .002). Anticoagulant therapy appeared safe and efficacious and was associated with reduced clot burden in most children with symptomatic or asymptomatic CVC-VTE. Residual VTE and continued CVC use were associated with extended anticoagulation. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT02234843.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2020002637DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7556137PMC
October 2020

Rivaroxaban and Aspirin in Patients With Symptomatic Lower Extremity Peripheral Artery Disease: A Subanalysis of the COMPASS Randomized Clinical Trial.

JAMA Cardiol 2021 Jan;6(1):21-29

Population Health Research Institute, McMaster University, Hamilton Health Sciences, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Importance: Patients with symptomatic lower extremity peripheral artery disease (LE-PAD) experience an increased risk of major vascular events. There is limited information on what clinical features of symptomatic LE-PAD prognosticate major vascular events and whether patients at high risk have a greater absolute benefit from low-dose rivaroxaban and aspirin.

Objective: To quantify the risk of major vascular events and investigate the response to treatment with low-dose rivaroxaban and aspirin among patients with symptomatic LE-PAD based on clinical presentation and comorbidities.

Design, Setting, And Participants: This is a subanalysis of a previously reported subgroup of patients with symptomatic LE-PAD who were enrolled in a large, double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial (Cardiovascular Outcomes for People Using Anticoagulation Strategies [COMPASS]) in 602 centers in 33 countries from March 2013 to January 2020. Data analysis was completed from May 2016 to June 2020.

Interventions: A combination of low-dose rivaroxaban and aspirin compared with aspirin alone.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Thirty-month incidence risk of myocardial infarction, stroke and cardiovascular death (MACE), major adverse limb events (MALE) including major vascular amputation, and bleeding.

Results: The COMPASS trial enrolled 4129 patients with symptomatic LE-PAD (mean [SD] age, 66.8 [8.8] years; 2932 men [71.0%]). The 30-month Kaplan-Meier incidence risk of MACE or MALE, including major amputation, was 22.6% in those with prior amputation (this outcome was observed in 54 patients), 17.6% (n = 15) in those with Fontaine III or IV symptoms, and 11.8% (n = 142) in those with previous peripheral artery revascularization, classifying these features as high-risk limb presentations. The 30-month incidence risk of MACE or MALE, including major amputation, was 14.1% (n = 118) in those with kidney dysfunction, 13.5% (n = 67) in those with heart failure, 13.4% (n = 199) in those with diabetes, and 12.8% (n = 222) in those with polyvascular disease, classifying these features as high-risk comorbidities. Among patients with either high-risk limb presentations or high-risk comorbidities, treatment with rivaroxaban and aspirin compared with aspirin alone was associated with an estimated 4.2% (95% CI, 1.9%-6.2%) absolute risk reduction for MACE or MALE, including major amputation, at 30 months. Although the estimated absolute risk increase of major bleeding was higher with rivaroxaban and aspirin in combination than aspirin alone (2.0% [95% CI, 0.5%-3.9%]) for patients with either high-risk limb presentation or high-risk comorbidity, the estimated absolute risk increase of fatal or critical organ bleeding was low in this high-risk group (0.4% [95% CI, 0.2%-1.8%]), such that the net clinical benefit was estimated to be 3.2% (95% CI, 0.6%-5.3%).

Conclusions And Relevance: Patients with LE-PAD with high-risk limb presentations or high-risk comorbidities had a high incidence of major vascular events. For these patients, treatment with rivaroxaban and aspirin in combination compared with aspirin alone led to a large absolute reduction in vascular risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamacardio.2020.4390DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7527938PMC
January 2021

Rivaroxaban for Prevention of Covert Brain Infarcts and Cognitive Decline: The COMPASS MRI Substudy.

Stroke 2020 10 21;51(10):2901-2909. Epub 2020 Sep 21.

ANMCO Research Center, Florence, Italy (A.P.M.).

Background And Purpose: Covert brain infarcts are associated with cognitive decline. It is not known whether therapies that prevent symptomatic stroke prevent covert infarcts. COMPASS compared rivaroxaban with and without aspirin with aspirin for the prevention of stroke, myocardial infarction, and vascular death in participants with stable vascular disease and was terminated early because of benefits of rivaroxaban 2.5 mg twice daily plus aspirin over aspirin. We obtained serial magnetic resonance imagings and cognitive tests in a consenting subgroup of COMPASS patients to examine treatment effects on infarcts, cerebral microbleeds, and white matter hyperintensities.

Methods: Baseline and follow-up magnetic resonance imagings were completed in 1445 participants with a mean (SD) interval of 2.0 (0.7) years. Whole-brain T1, T2 fluid-attenuated inversion recovery, T2* sequences were centrally interpreted by blinded, trained readers. Participants had serial measurements of cognition and function. The primary end point was the proportion of participants with incident covert infarcts. Secondary end points were the composite of clinical stroke and covert brain infarcts, cerebral microbleeds, and white matter hyperintensities.

Results: At baseline, 493 (34.1%) participants had infarcts. Incident covert infarcts occurred in 55 (3.8%) participants. In the overall trial rivaroxaban plus aspirin reduced ischemic stroke by 49% (0.7% versus 1.4%; hazard ratio [95% CI], 0.51 [0.38-0.68]). In the magnetic resonance imaging substudy the effects of rivaroxaban+aspirin versus aspirin were: covert infarcts: 2.7% versus 3.5% (odds ratio [95% CI], 0.77 [0.37-1.60]); Covert infarcts or ischemic stroke: 2.9% versus 5.3% (odds ratio [95% CI], 0.53 [0.27-1.03]). Incident microbleeds occurred in 6.6% of participants and 65.7% of participants had an increase in white matter hyperintensities volume with no effect of treatment for either end point. There was no effect on cognitive tests.

Conclusions: Covert infarcts were not significantly reduced by treatment with rivaroxaban and aspirin but estimates for the combination of ischemic stroke and covert infarcts were consistent with the effect on ischemic stroke in the overall trial. Registration: URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT01776424.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/STROKEAHA.120.029762DOI Listing
October 2020

Intracranial and systemic atherosclerosis in the NAVIGATE ESUS trial: Recurrent stroke risk and response to antithrombotic therapy.

J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis 2020 Aug 8;29(8):104936. Epub 2020 Jun 8.

Population Health Research Institute, Hamilton Health Sciences, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Background: Non-stenotic intracranial and systemic atherosclerosis are associated with ischemic stroke. We report frequency and response to anticoagulant vs. antiplatelet prophylaxis of patients with embolic stroke of undetermined source (ESUS) who have non-stenotic intracranial atherosclerosis and/or systemic atherosclerosis.

Methods: Exploratory analysis of the international NAVIGATE ESUS randomized trial comparing rivaroxaban 15mg daily with aspirin 100mg daily in 7213 patients with recent ESUS. Among participants with results of intracranial arterial imaging with either computed tomographic angiography (CTA) or magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), the frequency and predictors of non-stenotic intracranial and systemic atherosclerosis and responses to antithrombotic therapy were assessed.

Results: Among 4723 participants with available intracranial CTA or MRA results (65% of the trial cohort), the prevalence of intracranial atherosclerosis was 16% (n=739). Patient features independently associated with intracranial atherosclerosis included East Asian region (odds ratio 2.7, 95%CI 2.2,3.3) and cervical carotid plaque (odds ratio 2.3, 95%CI 1.9,2.7), among others. The rate of recurrent ischemic stroke averaged 4.8%/year among those with intracranial atherosclerosis vs. 5.0.%/year for those without (HR 0.95, 95%CI 0.65, 1.4). Among those with intracranial atherosclerosis, the recurrent ischemic stroke rate was higher if assigned to rivaroxaban (5.8%/year) vs. aspirin (3.7%/year), but the difference was not statistically significant (HR 1.6, 95%CI 0.78, 3.3). There was trend for the effect of antithrombotic treatments to be different according to the presence or absence of intracranial atherosclerosis (p=0.09). Among participants with evidence of systemic atherosclerosis by either history or imaging (n=3820), recurrent ischemic stroke rates were similar among those assigned to rivaroxaban (5.5%/year) vs. aspirin (4.9%/year)(HR 1.1, 95%CI 0.84, 1.5).

Conclusions: East Asia region was the strongest factor associated with intracranial atherosclerosis. There were no statistically significant differences between rivaroxaban and aspirin prophylaxis for recurrent ischemic stroke in patients with non-stenotic intracranial atherosclerosis and/or systemic atherosclerosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2020.104936DOI Listing
August 2020

High-Sensitivity Cardiac Troponin T for Risk Stratification in Patients With Embolic Stroke of Undetermined Source.

Stroke 2020 08 9;51(8):2386-2394. Epub 2020 Jul 9.

Center for Stroke Research Berlin, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany (J.F.S., C.H.N., M.E.).

Background And Purpose: Optimal secondary prevention for patients with embolic stroke of undetermined source (ESUS) remains unknown. We aimed to assess whether high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T (hs-cTnT) levels are associated with major vascular events and whether hs-cTnT may identify patients who benefit from anticoagulation following ESUS.

Methods: Data were obtained from the biomarker substudy of the NAVIGATE ESUS trial, a randomized controlled trial testing the efficacy of rivaroxaban versus aspirin for secondary stroke prevention in ESUS. Patients were dichotomized at the hs-cTnT upper reference limit (14 ng/L, Gen V, Roche Diagnostics). Cox proportional hazard models were computed to explore the association between hs-cTnT, the combined cardiovascular end point (recurrent stroke, myocardial infarction, systemic embolism, cardiovascular death), and recurrent ischemic stroke.

Results: Among 1337 patients enrolled at 111 participating centers in 18 countries (mean age 67±9 years, 61% male), hs-cTnT was detectable in 95% and at/above the upper reference limit in 21%. During a median follow-up of 11 months, the combined cardiovascular end point occurred in 68 patients (5.0%/y, rivaroxaban 28 events, aspirin 40 events; hazard ratio, 0.67 [95% CI, 0.41-1.1]), and recurrent ischemic stroke occurred in 50 patients (4.0%/y, rivaroxaban 16 events, aspirin 34 events, hazard ratio 0.45 [95% CI, 0.25-0.81]). Annualized combined cardiovascular end point rates were 8.2% (9.5% rivaroxaban, 7.0% aspirin) for those above hs-cTnT upper reference limit and 4.8% (3.1% rivaroxaban, 6.6% aspirin) below with a significant treatment modification (=0.04). Annualized ischemic stroke rates were 4.7% above hs-cTnT upper reference limit and 3.9% below, with no suggestion of an interaction between hs-cTnT and treatment (=0.3).

Conclusions: In patients with ESUS, hs-cTnT was associated with increased cardiovascular event rates. While fewer recurrent strokes occurred in patients receiving rivaroxaban, outcomes were not stratified by hs-cTn results. Our findings support using hs-cTnT for cardiovascular risk stratification but not for decision-making regarding anticoagulation therapy in patients with ESUS. Registration: URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT02313909.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/STROKEAHA.120.029628DOI Listing
August 2020

Characteristics of Recurrent Ischemic Stroke After Embolic Stroke of Undetermined Source: Secondary Analysis of a Randomized Clinical Trial.

JAMA Neurol 2020 10;77(10):1233-1240

Population Health Research Institute, Department of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Importance: The concept of embolic stroke of undetermined source (ESUS) unifies a subgroup of cryptogenic strokes based on neuroimaging, a defined minimum set of diagnostic tests, and exclusion of certain causes. Despite an annual stroke recurrence rate of 5%, little is known about the etiology underlying recurrent stroke after ESUS.

Objective: To identify the stroke subtype of recurrent ischemic strokes after ESUS, to explore the interaction with treatment assignment in each category, and to examine the consistency of cerebral location of qualifying ESUS and recurrent ischemic stroke.

Design, Setting, And Participants: The NAVIGATE-ESUS trial was a randomized clinical trial conducted from December 23, 2014, to October 5, 2017. The trial compared the efficacy and safety of rivaroxaban and aspirin in patients with recent ESUS (n = 7213). Ischemic stroke was validated in 309 of the 7213 patients by adjudicators blinded to treatment assignment and classified by local investigators into the categories ESUS or non-ESUS (ie, cardioembolic, atherosclerotic, lacunar, other determined cause, or insufficient testing). Five patients with recurrent strokes that could not be defined as ischemic or hemorrhagic in absence of neuroimaging or autopsy were excluded. Data for this secondary post hoc analysis were analyzed from March to June 2019.

Interventions: Patients were randomly assigned to receive rivaroxaban, 15 mg/d, or aspirin, 100 mg/d.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Association of recurrent ESUS with stroke characteristics.

Results: A total of 309 patients (205 men [66%]; mean [SD] age, 68 [10] years) had ischemic stroke identified during the median follow-up of 11 (interquartile range [IQR], 12) months (annualized rate, 4.6%). Diagnostic testing was insufficient for etiological classification in 39 patients (13%). Of 270 classifiable ischemic strokes, 156 (58%) were ESUS and 114 (42%) were non-ESUS (37 [32%] cardioembolic, 26 [23%] atherosclerotic, 35 [31%] lacunar, and 16 [14%] other determined cause). Atrial fibrillation was found in 27 patients (9%) with recurrent ischemic stroke and was associated with higher morbidity (median change in modified Rankin scale score 2 [IQR, 3] vs 0 (IQR, 1]) and mortality (15% vs 1%) than other causes. Risk of recurrence did not differ significantly by subtype between treatment groups. For both the qualifying and recurrent strokes, location of infarct was more often in the left (46% and 54%, respectively) than right hemisphere (40% and 37%, respectively) or brainstem or cerebellum (14% and 9%, respectively).

Conclusions And Relevance: In this secondary analysis of randomized clinical trial data, most recurrent strokes after ESUS were embolic and of undetermined source. Recurrences associated with atrial fibrillation were a minority but were more often disabling and fatal. More extensive investigation to identify the embolic source is important toward an effective antithrombotic strategy.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02313909.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamaneurol.2020.1995DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7550970PMC
October 2020

Frequency and Predictors of Major Bleeding in Patients With Embolic Strokes of Undetermined Source: NAVIGATE-ESUS Trial.

Stroke 2020 07 10;51(7):2139-2147. Epub 2020 Jun 10.

McMaster University/Population Health Research Institute, Hamilton Health Sciences, ON, Canada (A.S., S.J.C., R.G.H.).

Background And Purpose: Risks, sites, and predictors of major bleeding during antithrombotic therapies have not been well defined for patients with recent embolic stroke of undetermined source.

Methods: Exploratory analysis of major bleeds defined by International Society of Thrombosis and Hemostasis criteria occurring among 7213 participants in international NAVIGATE (New Approach Rivaroxaban Inhibition of Factor Xa in a Global Trial) embolic stroke of undetermined source randomized trial comparing rivaroxaban 15 mg daily with aspirin 100 mg daily.

Results: During a median follow-up of 11 months, 85 major bleeds occurred. The most frequent site was gastrointestinal (38%), followed by intracranial (29%). Assignment to rivaroxaban (hazard ratio [HR], 2.7 [95% CI, 1.7-4.3]), East Asia region (HR, 2.5 [95% CI, 1.6-3.9]), systolic blood pressure ≥160 mm Hg (HR, 2.2 [95% CI, 1.2-3.8]), and reduced estimated glomerular filtration rate (HR, 1.2 per 10 mL/min per 1.73 m decrease, [95% CI, 1.0-1.3]) were independently associated with presence of major bleeds. Five (6%) were fatal. Among 15 patients with intracerebral hemorrhage, 2 (13%) were fatal. There was no evidence of an early high-risk period following initiation of rivaroxaban. The annualized rate of intracerebral hemorrhage was 6-fold higher among East Asian participants (0.67%) versus all other regions (0.11%; HR, 6.3 [95% CI, 2.2-18.0]). Distribution of bleeding sites was similar for rivaroxaban and aspirin.

Conclusions: Among embolic stroke of undetermined source patients participating in an international randomized trial, independent predictors of major bleeding were assignment to rivaroxaban, East Asia region, increased systolic blood pressure, and impaired renal function. East Asia as a region was strongly associated with risk of intracerebral hemorrhage. Estimated glomerular filtration rate should be a consideration for stratifying bleeding risk. Registration: URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT02313909.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/STROKEAHA.119.027995DOI Listing
July 2020

Associations between model-predicted rivaroxaban exposure and patient characteristics and efficacy and safety outcomes in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation.

J Thromb Thrombolysis 2020 Jul;50(1):20-29

Janssen Research & Development, LLC, Raritan, NJ, USA.

Rivaroxaban exposure and patient characteristics may affect the rivaroxaban benefit-risk balance. This study aimed to quantify associations between model-predicted rivaroxaban exposure and patient characteristics and efficacy and safety outcomes in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF), using data from the phase 3 ROCKET AF trial (NCT00403767). In ROCKET AF, 14,264 patients with NVAF were randomized to rivaroxaban (20 mg once daily [OD], or 15 mg OD if creatinine clearance was 30-49 mL/min) or dose-adjusted warfarin (median follow-up: 707 days); rivaroxaban plasma concentration was measured in a subset of 161 patients. In this post hoc exposure-response analysis, a multivariate Cox model was used to correlate individual predicted rivaroxaban exposures and patient characteristics with time-to-event efficacy and safety outcomes in 7061 and 7111 patients, respectively. There was no significant association between model-predicted rivaroxaban trough plasma concentration (C) and efficacy outcomes. Creatinine clearance and history of stroke were significantly associated with efficacy outcomes. C was significantly associated with the composite of major or non-major clinically relevant (NMCR) bleeding (hazard ratio [95th percentile vs. median]: 1.26 [95% confidence interval 1.13-1.40]) but not with major bleeding alone. The exposure-response relationship for major or NMCR bleeding was shallow with no clear threshold for an acceleration in risk. History of gastrointestinal bleeding had a greater influence on safety outcomes than C. These results support fixed rivaroxaban 15 mg and 20 mg OD dosages in NVAF. Therapeutic drug monitoring is unlikely to offer clinical benefits in this indication beyond evaluation of patient characteristics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11239-020-02077-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7293978PMC
July 2020

Associations between model-predicted rivaroxaban exposure and patient characteristics and efficacy and safety outcomes in the treatment of venous thromboembolism.

J Thromb Thrombolysis 2020 Jul;50(1):1-11

Bayer U.S., LLC, Research & Development, Pharmaceuticals, 100 Bayer Boulevard, Whippany, NJ, 07981, USA.

Anticoagulant plasma concentrations and patient characteristics might affect the benefit-risk balance of therapy. This study assessed the impact of model-predicted rivaroxaban exposure and patient characteristics on outcomes in patients receiving rivaroxaban for venous thromboembolism treatment (VTE-T) using data from the phase 3 EINSTEIN-DVT and EINSTEIN-PE studies. In the absence of measured rivaroxaban exposure, exposure estimates were predicted based on individual increases in prothrombin time (PT) and the known correlation between rivaroxaban plasma concentrations and PT dynamics. The composite efficacy outcomes evaluated were recurrent deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) and recurrent DVT, PE and all-cause death; safety outcomes were major bleeding and the composite of major or non-major clinically relevant (NMCR) bleeding. Exposure-response relationships were evaluated using multivariate logistic and Cox regression for the twice-daily (BID) and once-daily (OD) dosing periods, respectively. Predicted rivaroxaban exposure and CrCl were significantly associated with both efficacy outcomes in the BID period. In the OD period, exposure was significantly associated with recurrent DVT and PE but not recurrent DVT, PE and all-cause death. The statistically significant exposure-efficacy relationships were shallow. Exposure-safety relationships were absent within the investigated exposure range. During both dosing periods, low baseline hemoglobin and prior bleeding were associated with the composite of major or NMCR bleeding. In conclusion, based on the underlying data and analysis, no reliable target window for exposure with improved benefit-risk could be identified within the investigated exposure range. Therefore, monitoring rivaroxaban levels is unlikely to be beneficial in VTE-T.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11239-020-02073-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7293979PMC
July 2020

Associations between model-predicted rivaroxaban exposure and patient characteristics and efficacy and safety outcomes in the prevention of venous thromboembolism.

J Thromb Thrombolysis 2020 Jul;50(1):12-19

Bayer U.S., LLC, Research & Development, Pharmaceuticals, 100 Bayer Boulevard, Whippany, NJ, 07981, USA.

Anticoagulant plasma concentrations and patient characteristics might affect the benefit-risk balance of therapy. The study objective was to assess the impact of model-predicted rivaroxaban exposure and patient characteristics on outcomes in patients receiving rivaroxaban for venous thromboembolism (VTE) prophylaxis (VTE-P) after hip/knee replacement surgery. Post hoc exposure-response analyses were conducted using data from the phase 3 RECORD1-4 studies, in which 12,729 patients were randomized to rivaroxaban 10 mg once daily or enoxaparin for ≤ 39 days. Multivariate regression approaches were used to correlate model-predicted individual rivaroxaban exposures and patient characteristics with outcomes. In the absence of measured rivaroxaban exposure, exposure estimates were predicted based on individual increases in prothrombin time (PT) and by making use of the known correlation between rivaroxaban plasma concentration and dynamics of PT. No significant associations between rivaroxaban exposure and total VTE or major bleeding were identified. A significant association between exposure and a composite of major or non-major clinically relevant (NMCR) bleeding from day 4 after surgery was observed. The relationship was shallow, with an approximate predicted absolute increase in a composite of major or NMCR bleeding from 1.08 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.76-1.54] to 2.18% (95% CI 1.51-3.17) at the 5th and 95th percentiles of trough plasma concentration, respectively. In conclusion, based on the underlying data and analysis, no reliable target window for exposure with improved benefit-risk could be identified within the investigated exposure range. Hence, monitoring rivaroxaban levels is unlikely to be beneficial in VTE-P.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11239-020-02078-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7293976PMC
July 2020

Potential Embolic Sources and Outcomes in Embolic Stroke of Undetermined Source in the NAVIGATE-ESUS Trial.

Stroke 2020 06 16;51(6):1797-1804. Epub 2020 Apr 16.

Population Health Research Institute, Hamilton Health Sciences, ON, Canada (M.S., R.G.H.).

Background and Purpose- Emboli in embolic stroke of undetermined source (ESUS) may originate from various potential embolic sources (PES), some of which may respond better to anticoagulation, whereas others to antiplatelets. We analyzed whether rivaroxaban is associated with reduction of recurrent stroke compared with aspirin in patients with ESUS across different PES and by number of PES. Methods- We assessed the presence/absence of each PES (atrial cardiopathy, atrial fibrillation, arterial atherosclerosis, left ventricular dysfunction, cardiac valvulopathy, patent foramen ovale, cancer) in NAVIGATE-ESUS (New Approach Rivaroxaban Inhibition of Factor Xa in a Global Trial Versus ASA to Prevent Embolism in Embolic Stroke of Undetermined Source) participants. Prevalence of each PES, as well as treatment effect and risk of event for each PES were determined. Results by number of PES were also determined. The outcomes were ischemic stroke, all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality, and myocardial infarction. Results- In 7213 patients (38% women, mean age 67years) followed for a median of 11 months, the 3 most prevalent PES were atrial cardiopathy (37%), left ventricular disease (36%), and arterial atherosclerosis (29%). Forty-one percent of all patients had multiple PES, with 15% having ≥3 PES. None or a single PES was present in 23% and 36%, respectively. Recurrent ischemic stroke risk was similar for rivaroxaban- and aspirin-assigned patients for each PES, except for those with cardiac valvular disease which was marginally higher in rivaroxaban-assigned patients (hazard ratio, 1.8 [95% CI, 1.0-3.0]). All-cause mortality risks were similar across treatment groups for each PES while too few myocardial infarctions and cardiovascular deaths occurred for meaningful assessment. Increasing number of PES was not associated with increased stroke recurrence nor all-cause mortality, and outcomes did not vary between rivaroxaban- and aspirin-assigned patients by number of PES. Conclusions- A large proportion of patients with ESUS had multiple PES which could explain the neutral results of NAVIGATE-ESUS. Recurrence rates between rivaroxaban- and aspirin-assigned patients were similar across the spectrum of PES. Registration- URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov; Unique identifier: NCT02313909.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/STROKEAHA.119.028669DOI Listing
June 2020

Efficacy and safety of rivaroxaban plus aspirin in women and men with chronic coronary or peripheral artery disease.

Cardiovasc Res 2021 02;117(3):942-949

Department of Medicine, Population Health Research Institute, McMaster University, Hamilton Health Sciences, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Aims: The COMPASS trial demonstrated that the combination of rivaroxaban 2.5 mg twice daily and aspirin 100 mg once daily compared with aspirin 100 mg once daily reduced major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) in patients with chronic coronary artery disease or peripheral artery disease by 24% during a mean follow-up of 23 months. We explored whether this effect varies by sex.

Methods And Results: The effects were examined in women and men using log-rank tests and Kaplan-Meier curve. Hazard ratios (HRs) and corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were obtained from stratified Cox proportional hazards models to explore subgroup effects including subgroup of women and men according to baseline modified REACH risk score. Of 27 395 patients randomized, 18 278 were allocated to receive rivaroxaban plus aspirin (n = 9152) or aspirin alone (n = 9126), and of these, 22.1% were women. Women compared with men had similar incidence rates for MACE and major bleeding but borderline lower rates for myocardial infarction (1.7% vs. 2.2%, P = 0.05). The effect of combination therapy compared with aspirin in women and men was consistent for MACE (women: 3.8% vs. 5.2%, HR 0.72, 95% CI 0.54-0.97; men: 4.2% vs. 5.5%, HR 0.76, 95% CI 0.66-0.89; P interaction 0.75) and major bleeding (women: 3.1% vs. 1.4%, HR 2.22, 95% CI 1.42-3.46; men: 3.2% vs. 2.0%, HR 1.60, 95% CI 1.29-1.97; P interaction 0.19). There was no significant interaction between randomized treatment and baseline modified REACH score above or below the median for MACE or major bleeding.

Conclusion: In patients with stable coronary artery disease or peripheral artery disease, the combination of rivaroxaban (2.5 mg twice daily) and aspirin compared with aspirin alone appears to produce consistent benefits in women and men, independent of baseline cardiovascular risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cvr/cvaa100DOI Listing
February 2021
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