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1.  Oral rivaroxaban versus standard therapy for the treatment of symptomatic venous thromboembolism: a pooled analysis of the EINSTEIN-DVT and PE randomized studies 
Thrombosis Journal  2013;11:21.
Standard treatment for venous thromboembolism (VTE) consists of a heparin combined with vitamin K antagonists. Direct oral anticoagulants have been investigated for acute and extended treatment of symptomatic VTE; their use could avoid parenteral treatment and/or laboratory monitoring of anticoagulant effects.
A prespecified pooled analysis of the EINSTEIN-DVT and EINSTEIN-PE studies compared the efficacy and safety of rivaroxaban (15 mg twice-daily for 21 days, followed by 20 mg once-daily) with standard-therapy (enoxaparin 1.0 mg/kg twice-daily and warfarin or acenocoumarol). Patients were treated for 3, 6, or 12 months and followed for suspected recurrent VTE and bleeding. The prespecified noninferiority margin was 1.75.
A total of 8282 patients were enrolled; 4151 received rivaroxaban and 4131 received standard-therapy. The primary efficacy outcome occurred in 86 (2.1%) rivaroxaban-treated patients compared with 95 (2.3%) standard-therapy-treated patients (hazard ratio, 0.89; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.66–1.19; pnoninferiority < 0.001). Major bleeding was observed in 40 (1.0%) and 72 (1.7%) patients in the rivaroxaban and standard-therapy groups, respectively (hazard ratio, 0.54; 95% CI, 0.37–0.79; p = 0.002). In key subgroups, including fragile patients, cancer patients, patients presenting with large clots, and those with a history of recurrent VTE, the efficacy and safety of rivaroxaban were similar compared with standard-therapy.
The single-drug approach with rivaroxaban resulted in similar efficacy to standard-therapy and was associated with a significantly lower rate of major bleeding. Efficacy and safety results were consistent among key patient subgroups.
Trial registration
EINSTEIN-PE:, NCT00439777; EINSTEIN-DVT:, NCT00440193.
PMCID: PMC3850944  PMID: 24053656
Rivaroxaban; Standard therapy; Venous thromboembolism; Randomized controlled trials
2.  Comparing multiple competing interventions in the absence of randomized trials using clinical risk-benefit analysis 
To demonstrate the use of risk-benefit analysis for comparing multiple competing interventions in the absence of randomized trials, we applied this approach to the evaluation of five anticoagulants to prevent thrombosis in patients undergoing orthopedic surgery.
Using a cost-effectiveness approach from a clinical perspective (i.e. risk benefit analysis) we compared thromboprophylaxis with warfarin, low molecular weight heparin, unfractionated heparin, fondaparinux or ximelagatran in patients undergoing major orthopedic surgery, with sub-analyses according to surgery type. Proportions and variances of events defining risk (major bleeding) and benefit (thrombosis averted) were obtained through a meta-analysis and used to define beta distributions. Monte Carlo simulations were conducted and used to calculate incremental risks, benefits, and risk-benefit ratios. Finally, net clinical benefit was calculated for all replications across a range of risk-benefit acceptability thresholds, with a reference range obtained by estimating the case fatality rate - ratio of thrombosis to bleeding.
The analysis showed that compared to placebo ximelagatran was superior to other options but final results were influenced by type of surgery, since ximelagatran was superior in total knee replacement but not in total hip replacement.
Using simulation and economic techniques we demonstrate a method that allows comparing multiple competing interventions in the absence of randomized trials with multiple arms by determining the option with the best risk-benefit profile. It can be helpful in clinical decision making since it incorporates risk, benefit, and personal risk acceptance.
PMCID: PMC3292458  PMID: 22233221
Risk-Benefit Analysis; Decision Making; Meta-Analysis; Methods; Monte Carlo Method; Risk; indirect comparison
3.  Clinical and Genetic Determinants of Warfarin Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics during Treatment Initiation 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e27808.
Variable warfarin response during treatment initiation poses a significant challenge to providing optimal anticoagulation therapy. We investigated the determinants of initial warfarin response in a cohort of 167 patients. During the first nine days of treatment with pharmacogenetics-guided dosing, S-warfarin plasma levels and international normalized ratio were obtained to serve as inputs to a pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic (PK-PD) model. Individual PK (S-warfarin clearance) and PD (Imax) parameter values were estimated. Regression analysis demonstrated that CYP2C9 genotype, kidney function, and gender were independent determinants of S-warfarin clearance. The values for Imax were dependent on VKORC1 and CYP4F2 genotypes, vitamin K status (as measured by plasma concentrations of proteins induced by vitamin K absence, PIVKA-II) and weight. Importantly, indication for warfarin was a major independent determinant of Imax during initiation, where PD sensitivity was greater in atrial fibrillation than venous thromboembolism. To demonstrate the utility of the global PK-PD model, we compared the predicted initial anticoagulation responses with previously established warfarin dosing algorithms. These insights and modeling approaches have application to personalized warfarin therapy.
PMCID: PMC3218053  PMID: 22114699
4.  Combined analysis of three genome-wide association studies on vWF and FVIII plasma levels 
BMC Medical Genetics  2011;12:102.
Elevated levels of factor VIII (FVIII) and von Willebrand Factor (vWF) are well-established risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, in particular venous thrombosis. Although high, the heritability of these traits is poorly explained by the genetic factors known so far. The aim of this work was to identify novel single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that could influence the variability of these traits.
Three independent genome-wide association studies for vWF plasma levels and FVIII activity were conducted and their results were combined into a meta-analysis totalling 1,624 subjects.
No single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) reached the study-wide significance level of 1.12 × 10-7 that corresponds to the Bonferroni correction for the number of tested SNPs. Nevertheless, the recently discovered association of STXBP5, STX2, TC2N and CLEC4M genes with vWF levels and that of SCARA5 and STAB2 genes with FVIII levels were confirmed in this meta-analysis. Besides, among the fifteen novel SNPs showing promising association at p < 10-5 with either vWF or FVIII levels in the meta-analysis, one located in ACCN1 gene also showed weak association (P = 0.0056) with venous thrombosis in a sample of 1,946 cases and 1,228 controls.
This study has generated new knowledge on genomic regions deserving further investigations in the search for genetic factors influencing vWF and FVIII plasma levels, some potentially implicated in VT, as well as providing some supporting evidence of previously identified genes.
PMCID: PMC3163514  PMID: 21810271
5.  Six-month exercise training program to treat post-thrombotic syndrome: a randomized controlled two-centre trial 
Exercise training may have the potential to improve post-thrombotic syndrome, a frequent, chronic complication of deep venous thrombosis. We conducted a randomized controlled two-centre pilot trial to assess the feasibility of a multicentre-based evaluation of a six-month exercise training program to treat post-thrombotic syndrome and to obtain preliminary data on the effectiveness of such a program.
Patients were randomized to receive exercise training (a six-month trainer-supervised program) or control treatment (an education session with monthly phone follow-ups). Levels of eligibility, consent, adherence and retention were used as indicators of study feasibility. Primary outcomes were change from baseline to six months in venous disease-specific quality of life (as measured using the Venous Insufficiency Epidemiological and Economic Study Quality of Life [VEINES-QOL] questionnaire) and severity of post-thrombotic syndrome (as measured by scores on the Villalta scale) in the exercise training group versus the control group, assessed by t tests. Secondary outcomes were change in generic quality of life (as measured using the Short-Form Health Survey-36 [SF-36] questionnaire), category of severity of post-thrombotic syndrome, leg strength, leg flexibility and time on treadmill.
Of 95 patients with post-thrombotic syndrome, 69 were eligible, 43 consented and were randomized, and 39 completed the study. Exercise training was associated with improvement in VEINES-QOL scores (exercise training mean change 6.0, standard deviation [SD] 5.1 v. control mean change 1.4, SD 7.2; difference 4.6, 95% CI 0.54 to 8.7; p = 0.027) and improvement in scores on the Villalta scale (exercise training mean change −3.6, SD 3.7 v. control mean change −1.6, SD 4.3; difference −2.0, 95% CI −4.6 to 0.6; p = 0.14). Most secondary outcomes also showed greater improvement in the exercise training group.
Exercise training may improve post-thrombotic syndrome. It would be feasible to definitively evaluate exercise training as a treatment for post-thrombotic syndrome in a large multicentre trial.
PMCID: PMC3017252  PMID: 21098066
6.  Biodiversity Conservation in the REDD 
Deforestation and forest degradation in the tropics is a major source of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The tropics also harbour more than half the world's threatened species, raising the possibility that reducing GHG emissions by curtailing tropical deforestation could provide substantial co-benefits for biodiversity conservation. Here we explore the potential for such co-benefits in Indonesia, a leading source of GHG emissions from land cover and land use change, and among the most species-rich countries in the world. We show that focal ecosystems for interventions to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in Indonesia do not coincide with areas supporting the most species-rich communities or highest concentration of threatened species. We argue that inherent trade-offs among ecosystems in emission reduction potential, opportunity cost of foregone development and biodiversity values will require a regulatory framework to balance emission reduction interventions with biodiversity co-benefit targets. We discuss how such a regulatory framework might function, and caution that pursuing emission reduction strategies without such a framework may undermine, not enhance, long-term prospects for biodiversity conservation in the tropics.
PMCID: PMC3002342  PMID: 21092321
7.  Identifying unprovoked thromboembolism patients at low risk for recurrence who can discontinue anticoagulant therapy 
Whether to continue oral anticoagulant therapy beyond 6 months after an “unprovoked” venous thromboembolism is controversial. We sought to determine clinical predictors to identify patients who are at low risk of recurrent venous thromboembolism who could safely discontinue oral anticoagulants.
In a multicentre prospective cohort study, 646 participants with a first, unprovoked major venous thromboembolism were enrolled over a 4-year period. Of these, 600 participants completed a mean 18-month follow-up in September 2006. We collected data for 69 potential predictors of recurrent venous thromboembolism while patients were taking oral anticoagulation therapy (5–7 months after initiation). During follow-up after discontinuing oral anticoagulation therapy, all episodes of suspected recurrent venous thromboembolism were independently adjudicated. We performed a multivariable analysis of predictor variables (p < 0.10) with high interobserver reliability to derive a clinical decision rule.
We identified 91 confirmed episodes of recurrent venous thromboembolism during follow-up after discontinuing oral anticoagulation therapy (annual risk 9.3%, 95% CI 7.7%–11.3%). Men had a 13.7% (95% CI 10.8%–17.0%) annual risk. There was no combination of clinical predictors that satisfied our criteria for identifying a low-risk subgroup of men. Fifty-two percent of women had 0 or 1 of the following characteristics: hyperpigmentation, edema or redness of either leg; D-dimer ≥ 250 μg/L while taking warfarin; body mass index ≥ 30 kg/m2; or age ≥ 65 years. These women had an annual risk of 1.6% (95% CI 0.3%–4.6%). Women who had 2 or more of these findings had an annual risk of 14.1% (95% CI 10.9%–17.3%).
Women with 0 or 1 risk factor may safely discontinue oral anticoagulant therapy after 6 months of therapy following a first unprovoked venous thromboembolism. This criterion does not apply to men. ( trial register number NCT00261014)
PMCID: PMC2518177  PMID: 18725614
9.  Safety and effectiveness of point-of-care monitoring devices in patients on oral anticoagulant therapy: a meta-analysis 
Open Medicine  2007;1(3):e131-e146.
Point-of-care devices (POCDs) for monitoring long-term oral anticoagulation therapy (OAT) may be a useful alternative to laboratory-based international normalized ratio [INR] testing and clinical management.
To determine clinical outcomes of the use of POCDs for OAT management by performing a meta-analysis. Previous meta-analyses on POCDs have serious limitations.
Data sources
PubMed, the Cochrane Library, DIALOG, MEDLINE, EMBASE, BIOSIS Previews and PASCAL databases.
Study selection
Randomized controlled trials of patients on long-term OAT, comparing anticoagulation monitoring by POCD with laboratory INR testing and clinical management.
Data extraction
1) rates of major hemorrhage; 2) rates of major thromboembolic events; 3) percentage of time that the patient is maintained within the therapeutic range; 4) deaths. Outcomes were compared using a random-effects model. Summary measures of rates were determined. The quality of studies was assessed using the Jadad scale.
Data synthesis
Seventeen articles (16 studies) were included. Data analysis showed that POCD INR testing reduced the risk of major thromboembolic events (odds ratio [OR] = 0.51; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.35–0.74), was associated with fewer deaths (OR = 0.58; 95% CI = 0.38–0.89), and resulted in better INR control compared with laboratory INR testing. No significant difference between the two management modalities with respect to odds ratios for major hemorrhage was found.
Quality scores varied from 1 to 3 (out of a maximum of 5). Only 3 studies defined how thromboembolic events would be diagnosed, casting doubt on the accuracy of the reporting of thromboembolic events. The studies suggest that only 24% of patients are good candidates for self-testing and self-management. Compared with patients managed with laboratory-based monitoring, POCD patients underwent INR testing at a much higher frequency and received much more intensive education on OAT management.
The use of POCDs is safe and may be more effective than laboratory-based monitoring. However, most patients are not good candidates for self-testing and self-management. Patient education and frequency of testing may be the most important factors in successful PODC management. Definitive conclusions about the clinical benefits provided by self-testing and self-management require more rigorously designed trials.
PMCID: PMC3113217  PMID: 21673942
10.  Effectiveness of compression stockings to prevent the post-thrombotic syndrome (The SOX Trial and Bio-SOX biomarker substudy): a randomized controlled trial 
Post thrombotic syndrome (PTS) is a burdensome and costly complication of deep venous thrombosis (DVT) that develops in 20–40% of patients within 1–2 years after symptomatic DVT. Affected patients have chronic leg pain and swelling and may develop ulcers. Venous valve disruption from the thrombus itself or thrombus-associated mediators of inflammation is considered to be a key initiating event for the development of venous hypertension that often underlies PTS. As existing treatments for PTS are extremely limited, strategies that focus on preventing the development of PTS in patients with DVT are more likely to be effective and cost-effective in reducing its burden. Elastic compression stockings (ECS) could be helpful in preventing PTS; however, data on their effectiveness are scarce and conflicting.
The SOX Trial is a randomized, allocation concealed, double-blind multicenter clinical trial. The objective of the study is to evaluate ECS to prevent PTS. A total of 800 patients with proximal DVT will be randomized to one of 2 treatment groups: ECS or placebo (inactive) stockings worn on the DVT-affected leg daily for 2 years. The primary outcome is the incidence of PTS during follow-up. Secondary outcomes are severity of PTS, venous thromboembolism (VTE) recurrence, death from VTE, quality of life and cost-effectiveness. Outcomes will be evaluated during 6 clinic visits and 2 telephone follow ups. At baseline, 1 and 6 months, blood samples will be obtained to evaluate the role of inflammatory mediators and genetic markers of thrombophilia in the development of PTS (Bio-SOX substudy).
The SOX Trial will be the largest study and the first with a placebo control to evaluate the effectiveness of ECS to prevent PTS. It is designed to provide definitive data on the effects of ECS on the occurrence and severity of PTS, as well as DVT recurrence, cost-effectiveness and quality of life. This study will also prospectively evaluate the predictive role of biomarkers that are reflective of putative underlying pathophysiological mechanisms in the development of clinical PTS. As such, our results will impact directly on the care of patients with DVT.
Trial Registration
NCT00143598 and ISRCTN71334751
PMCID: PMC1940263  PMID: 17711595
11.  Diagnosis and treatment of deep-vein thrombosis 
Deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) is a common condition that can lead to complications such as postphlebitic syndrome, pulmonary embolism and death. The approach to the diagnosis of DVT has evolved over the years. Currently an algorithm strategy combining pretest probability, D-dimer testing and compression ultrasound imaging allows for safe and convenient investigation of suspected lower-extremity thrombosis. Patients with low pretest probability and a negative D-dimer test result can have proximal DVT excluded without the need for diagnostic imaging. The mainstay of treatment of DVT is anticoagulation therapy, whereas interventions such as thrombolysis and placement of inferior vena cava filters are reserved for special situations. The use of low-molecular-weight heparin allows for outpatient management of most patients with DVT. The duration of anticoagulation therapy depends on whether the primary event was idiopathic or secondary to a transient risk factor. More research is required to optimally define the factors that predict an increased risk of recurrent DVT to determine which patients can benefit from extended anticoagulant therapy.
PMCID: PMC1609160  PMID: 17060659
13.  Comparing the quality of oral anticoagulant management by anticoagulation clinics and by family physicians: a randomized controlled trial 
There is growing evidence that better outcomes are achieved when anticoagulation is managed by anticoagulation clinics rather than by family physicians. We carried out a randomized controlled trial to evaluate these 2 models of anticoagulant care.
We randomly allocated patients who were expected to require warfarin sodium for 3 months either to anticoagulation clinics located in 3 Canadian tertiary hospitals or to their family physician practices. We evaluated the quality of oral anticoagulant management by comparing the proportion of time that the international normalized ratio (INR) of patients receiving warfarin sodium was within the target therapeutic range ± 0.2 INR units (expanded therapeutic range) while they were managed in anticoagulation clinics as opposed to family physicians' care over 3 months. We measured the rates of thromboembolic and major hemorrhagic events and patient satisfaction in the 2 groups.
Of the 221 patients enrolled, 112 were randomly assigned to anticoagulation clinics and 109 to family physicians. The INR values of patients who were managed by anticoagulation clinics were within the expanded therapeutic range 82% of the time versus 76% of the time for those managed by family physicians (p = 0.034). High-risk INR values (defined as being < 1.5 or > 5.0) were more commonly observed in patients managed by family physicians (40%) than in patients managed by anticoagulation clinics (30%, p = 0.005). More INR measurements were performed by family physicians than by anticoagulation clinics (13 v. 11, p = 0.001). Major bleeding events (2 [2%] v. 1 [1%]), thromboembolic events (1 [1%] v. 2 [2%]) and deaths (5 [4%] v. 6 [6%]) occurred at a similar frequency in the anticoagulation clinic and family physician groups respectively. Of the 170 (77%) patients who completed the patient satisfaction questionnaire, more were satisfied when their anticoagulant management was managed through anticoagulation clinics than by their family physicians (p = 0.001).
Anticoagulation clinics provided better oral anticoagulant management than family physicians, but the differences were relatively modest.
PMCID: PMC180652  PMID: 12925422
14.  Efficacy and safety outcomes of oral anticoagulants and antiplatelet drugs in the secondary prevention of venous thromboembolism: systematic review and network meta-analysis 
Objective To summarise and compare the efficacy and safety of various oral anticoagulants (dabigatran, rivaroxaban, apixaban, and vitamin K antagonists) and antiplatelet agents (acetylsalicylic acid) for the secondary prevention of venous thromboembolism.
Design Systematic review and network meta-analysis.
Data sources Literature search using Medline (1950 to present), Embase (1980 to present), and the Cochrane Register of Controlled Trials using the OVID interface. Publications from potentially relevant journals were also searched by hand.
Review methods Randomised controlled trials of patients receiving anticoagulants, antiplatelet drugs, or placebo or observation for secondary prevention of venous thromboembolism. Selected outcomes were rates of recurrent venous thromboembolism and major bleeding. Two reviewers independently extracted data onto standardised forms.
Results 12 articles met our inclusion criteria, with 11 999 patients evaluated for efficacy and 12 167 for safety. All treatments reduced the risk of recurrent venous thromboembolism. Compared with placebo or observation, vitamin K antagonists at a standard adjusted dose (target international normalised ratio 2.0-3.0) showed the highest risk difference (odds ratio 0.07; 95% credible interval 0.03 to 0.15) and acetylsalicylic acid showed the lowest risk difference (0.65; 0.39 to 1.03). Risk of major bleeding was higher with a standard adjusted dose of vitamin K antagonists (5.24; 1.78 to 18.25) than with placebo or observation. Fatal recurrent venous thromboembolism and fatal bleeding were rare. Detailed subgroup and individual patient level data were not available.
Conclusions All oral anticoagulants and antiplatelet agents investigated in this analysis were associated with a reduced recurrence of venous thromboembolism compared with placebo or observation, although acetylsalicylic acid was associated with the lowest risk reduction. Vitamin K antagonists given at a standard adjusted dose was associated with the greatest risk reduction in recurrent venous thromboembolism, but also the greatest risk of major bleeding.
PMCID: PMC3758108  PMID: 23996149

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