Relationship of Aging and Incident Comorbidities to Stroke Risk in Patients With Atrial Fibrillation

Tze Fan Chao, Gregory Y.H. Lip, Chia Jen Liu, Yenn Jiang Lin, Shih Lin Chang, Li Wei Lo, Yu Feng Hu, Ta Chuan Tuan, Jo Nan Liao, Fa Po Chung, Tzeng Ji Chen, Shih Ann Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

142 Scopus citations


Background When assessing ischemic stroke risk in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF), the CHA2DS2-VASc score is calculated based on the baseline risk factors, and the outcomes are determined after a follow-up period. However, the stroke risk in patients with AF does not remain static, and with time, patients get older and accumulate more comorbidities. Objectives This study hypothesized that the “Delta CHA2DS2-VASc score,” which reflects the change in score between baseline and follow-up, would be more predictive of ischemic stroke compared with the baseline CHA2DS2-VASc score. Methods A total of 31,039 patients with AF who did not receive antiplatelet agents or oral anticoagulants, and who did not have comorbidities of the CHA2DS2-VASc score except for age and sex, were studied. The Delta CHA2DS2-VASc scores were defined as the differences between the baseline and follow-up CHA2DS2-VASc scores. During 171,956 person-years, 4,103 patients experienced ischemic stroke. The accuracies of baseline, follow-up, and Delta CHA2DS2-VASc scores in predicting ischemic stroke were analyzed and compared. Results The mean baseline CHA2DS2-VASc score was 1.29, which increased to 2.31 during the follow-up, with a mean Delta CHA2DS2-VASc score of 1.02. The CHA2DS2-VASc score remained unchanged in only 40.8% of patients. Among 4,103 patients who experienced ischemic stroke, 89.4% had a Delta CHA2DS2-VASc score ≥1 compared with only 54.6% in patients without ischemic stroke, and 2,643 (64.4%) patients had ≥1 new-onset comorbidity, the most common being hypertension. The Delta CHA2DS2-VASc score was a significant predictor of ischemic stroke that performed better than baseline or follow-up CHA2DS2-VASc scores, as assessed by the C-index and the net reclassification index. Conclusions In this AF cohort, the authors demonstrated that the CHA2DS2-VASc score was not static, and that most patients with AF developed ≥1 new stroke risk factor before presentation with ischemic stroke. The Delta CHA2DS2-VASc score, reflecting the change in score between baseline and follow-up, was strongly predictive of ischemic stroke, reflecting how stroke risk in AF is a dynamic process due to increasing age and incident comorbidities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-132
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 16 Jan 2018


  • Delta CHADS-VASc score
  • atrial fibrillation
  • ischemic stroke
  • slope


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