Background: The proportion of patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) treated with anticoagulation varies from country to country. In Japan, little is known about regional differences in frequency of warfarin use or prognosis among patients with non-valvular AF (NVAF). Methods and Results: In J-RHYTHM Registry, the number of patients recruited from each of 10 geographic regions of Japan was based on region population density. A total of 7,406 NVAF patients were followed up prospectively for 2 years. At baseline, significant differences in various clinical characteristics including age, sex, type of AF, comorbidity, and CHADS2 score, were detected among the regions. The highest mean CHADS2 score was recorded in Shikoku. Frequency of warfarin use differed between the regions (P<0.001), with lower frequencies observed in Hokkaido and Shikoku. Baseline prothrombin time international normalized ratio differed slightly but significantly between the regions (P<0.05). On univariate analysis, frequency of thromboembolic events differed among the regions (P<0.001), with the highest rate seen in Shikoku. An inverse correlation was detected between frequency of thromboembolic and of major hemorrhagic events (P=0.062). On multivariate analysis, region emerged as an independent risk for thromboembolism. Conclusions: Thromboembolic risk, frequency of warfarin use, and intensity and quality of warfarin treatment differed significantly between geographic regions of Japan. Region was found to be an independent predictor of thromboembolic events.
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