Healthcare costs before and after stroke in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation who initiated treatment with rivaroxaban or warfarin

Dejan Milentijevic, Jennifer H. Lin, Yen Wen Chen, Emily Kogan, Shubham Shrivastava, Erik Sjoeland, Mark Alberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Aims: Rivaroxaban reduces stroke compared with warfarin in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF). This study compared healthcare costs before and after stroke in NVAF patients treated with rivaroxaban or warfarin. Materials and methods: Using de-identified IBM MarketScan Commercial and Medicare databases, this retrospective cohort study (from 2011 to 2019) included patients with NVAF who initiated rivaroxaban or warfarin within 30 days after initial NVAF diagnosis. Patients who developed stroke were identified, and stroke severity was determined by the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score, imputed by a random forest method. Total all-cause per-patient per-year (PPPY) costs of care were determined for patients: (1) who developed stroke during the pre- and post-stroke periods and (2) who remained stroke-free during the follow-up period. Treatment groups were balanced using inverse probability of treatment weighting. Results: A total of 13,599 patients initiated rivaroxaban and 39,861 initiated warfarin, of which 272 (2.0%) and 1,303 (3.3%), respectively, developed stroke during a mean follow-up of 28 months. Among patients who developed stroke, PPPY costs increased from the pre-stroke to post-stroke period, with greater increases in the warfarin cohort relative to the rivaroxaban cohort. Overall, the costs increased by 1.78-fold for rivaroxaban vs 3.07-fold for warfarin; for less severe strokes (NIHSS < 5), costs increased 0.88-fold and 1.05-fold, respectively. Cost increases for more severe strokes (NIHSS ≥ 5) among rivaroxaban patients were half those for warfarin patients (3.19-fold vs 6.37-fold, respectively). Among patients without stroke, costs were similar during the follow-up period between the two treatment groups. Conclusions: Total all-cause costs of care increased in the post-stroke period, and particularly in the patients treated with warfarin relative to those treated with rivaroxaban. The lower rate of stroke in the rivaroxaban cohort suggests that greater pre- to post-stroke cost increases result from more strokes occurring in the warfarin cohort.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)212-217
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Medical Economics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Atrial fibrillation
  • direct-acting oral anticoagulants
  • healthcare cost
  • real-world evidence
  • rivaroxaban
  • stroke
  • stroke severity
  • warfarin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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