• A relationship between high baseline DOAC levels and early bleeding events in one-year follow-up was found.

  • Early measurement allows to identify subjects with high DOAC levels and, hopefully, to adjust treatment to reduce bleeding events.

Treatment with direct oral anticoagulants (DOAC) in atrial fibrillation (AF) patients is effective and safe. However, bleeding complications still occur. Whether the measurement of DOAC levels may further improve treatment efficacy and safety is still an open issue. In the "Measure and See" (MAS) Study (#NCT03803579) venous blood was collected 15-30 days after DOAC initiation in AF patients who were then followed for one year to record the occurrence of major and clinically relevant non-major bleeding. DOAC plasma levels were measured in one laboratory, and results were kept blind to patients and treating doctors. Trough DOAC levels were assessed in 1657 patients [957 (57.7%) and 700 treated with standard and low-dose, respectively]. Fifty bleeding events were recorded during 1606 years of follow-up (3.11% pt/yrs). Fifteen bleeding events (4.97% pt/yrs) occurred in patients with C-trough standardized values in the highest activity class (> 0.50); whereas 35 events (2.69% pt/yrs) occurred in those with values in the two lower classes ( 0.50, p= 0.0401). Increasing DOAC levels and low-dose DOAC use were associated with increased bleeding risk in the first three months of treatment. 19% of patients receiving low doses had standardized activity values in the highest class. More bleeding occurred in patients treated with low (4.3% pt/yrs) than standard (2.2% pt/yrs; p= 0.0160) dose DOAC. Early measurement of DOAC levels in AF patients identified many subjects with high activity levels despite the low doses use and had more bleeding risk during the first 3 months of treatment.

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