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Author Notes:

Correspondence to: W. Charles O’Neill, MD, Renal Division, Emory University, WMB 338, 1639 Pierce Dr., Atlanta, GA 30322. E-mail: woneill@emory.edu.

Disclosures: None.


Research Funding:

Han was supported by the Inje Research and Scholarship Foundation.


  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Cardiac & Cardiovascular Systems
  • Cardiovascular System & Cardiology
  • anticoagulants
  • peripheral vascular disease
  • RISK

Increased Peripheral Arterial Calcification in Patients Receiving Warfarin


Journal Title:

Journal of the American Heart Association


Volume 5, Number 1


Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


BACKGROUND: Matrix Gla protein is a vitamin K-dependent inhibitor of vascular calcification. Warfarin use is associated with increased breast arterial calcification, but whether this is reflective of other arteries or occurs in men is unclear. In this study, the prevalence of calcification in peripheral arteries was compared in patients with and without warfarin therapy. METHODS AND RESULTS: This retrospective matched cohort study assessed 430 patients with radiographs performed during or after warfarin therapy who were identified by a computerized search of medical records. Each patient was matched to a patient without warfarin exposure based on age, sex, and diabetes status. Patients with warfarin exposure <1 month, history of end-stage renal disease, or serum creatinine >2.0 mg/dl were excluded. Radiographs were reviewed visually for arterial calcification. The prevalence of arterial calcification was 44% greater in patients with versus without warfarin use (30.2% versus 20.9%, P=0.0023) but not on radiographs performed before warfarin therapy (26.4% versus 22.4%, n=156) or prior to 5 years of warfarin therapy. The increase was noted only in the ankle and foot, was limited to a medial pattern of calcification, and was similar in men and women. CONCLUSIONS: Warfarin use is associated with lower extremity arterial calcification in both men and women independent of age, sex, diabetes status, and other patient characteristics. This may have implications for the choice of therapies for long-term anticoagulation.

Copyright information:

© 2016 The Authors. Published on behalf of the American Heart Association, Inc., by Wiley Blackwell.

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/).

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