Background: Target anticoagulation levels for warfarin in Japanese patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF) are unclear. Methods and Results: Of 7,406 patients with NVAF, 1,002 did not receive warfarin (non-warfarin group), and the remaining patients receiving warfarin were divided into 5 groups based on their baseline international normalized ratio (INR) of prothrombin time (≤1.59, 1.6-1.99, 2.0-2.59, 2.6-2.99, and ≥3.0). Patients were followed-up prospec-tively for 2 years. Primary endpoints were thromboembolic events (cerebral infarction, transient ischemic attack, and systemic embolism), and major hemorrhage requiring hospital admission. During the follow-up period, thromboem-bolic events occurred in 3.0% of non-warfarin group, but at lower frequencies in the warfarin groups (2.0, 1.3, 1.5, 0.6, and 1.8%/2 years for INR values of ≤1.59, 1.6-1.99, 2.0-2.59, 2.6-2.99, and ≥3.0, respectively; P=0.0059). Major hemorrhage occurred more frequently in warfarin groups (1.5, 1.8, 2.4, 3.3, and 4.1% for INR values ≤1.59, 1.6-1.99, 2.0-2.59, 2.6-2.99, and ≥3.0, respectively; P=0.0041) than in non-warfarin group (0.8%/2 years). These trends were maintained when the analyses were confined to patients aged ≥70 years. Conclusions: An INR of 1.6-2.6 is safe and effective at preventing thromboembolic events in patients with NVAF, particularly patients aged ≥70 years. An INR of 2.6-2.99 is also effective, but associated with a slightly increased risk in major hemorrhage.
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