Patient-self-management (PSM) of oral anticoagulant therapy with vitamin K antagonists has demonstrated efficacy in randomized, controlled trials. However, the effectiveness and efficacy of PSM in clinical practice and whether outcomes are different for females and males has been sparsely investigated.The objective is to evaluate the sex-dependent effectiveness of PSM of oral anticoagulant therapy in everyday clinical practice.
All patients performing PSM affiliated to Aarhus University Hospital and Aalborg University Hospital, Denmark in the period 1996–2012 were included in a case-series study. The effectiveness was estimated using the following parameters: stroke, systemic embolism, major bleeding, intracranial bleeding, gastrointestinal bleeding, death and time spent in the therapeutic international normalized ratio (INR) target range. Prospectively registered patient data were obtained from two databases in the two hospitals. Cross-linkage between the databases and national registries provided detailed information on the incidence of death, bleeding and thromboembolism on an individual level.
A total of 2068 patients were included, representing 6,900 patient-years in total. Males achieved a significantly better therapeutic INR control than females; females spent 71.1% of the time within therapeutic INR target range, whereas males spent 76.4% (p<0.0001). Importantly, death, bleeding and thromboembolism were not significantly different between females and males.
Among patients treated with self-managed oral anticoagulant therapy, males achieve a higher effectiveness than females in terms of time spent in therapeutic INR range, but the incidence of major complications is low and similar in both sexes.