Changes in Warfarin Sensitivity During Decompensated Heart Failure and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Michaela Del Campo, Greg Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Heart failure (HF) has been associated with an elevated international normalized ratio (INR) in patients on warfarin. Objectives: Compare warfarin sensitivity during hospital admission for HF exacerbation and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbation with admissions unrelated to HF or COPD (controls) as well as during disease stability. Methods: We conducted a case-controlled observational study. Patients admitted to a tertiary teaching hospital for HF exacerbation (n = 37), COPD exacerbation (n = 26), and admissions unrelated to HF or COPD (controls, n = 60) were included. Warfarin sensitivity (INR per daily mg dose of warfarin) at admission was compared to periods of disease stability and also compared between the 3 groups. Results: The increase in warfarin sensitivity at admission was 94% for HF patients (P < 0.0001), 59% for COPD (P = 0.003) patients, and 24% for controls (P = 0.002). HF patients with New York Heart Association (NYHA) class 3 and 4 and NYHA class 1 and 2 experienced changes in warfarin sensitivity of 125% (P = 0.006) and 50% (P = 0.13) at admission. HF patients had higher warfarin sensitivity at admission (mean = 1.62 [SD = 1.27]) compared to the control group (0.91 [0.52], P < 0.0001) and COPD group (1.03 [0.79], P = 0.04). and required greater intervention with vitamin K than controls (14% vs 0%, P = 0.007). Conclusion: HF and COPD patients were more sensitive to warfarin during disease exacerbation, with HF exacerbation having the largest impact, resulting in clinically significant management implications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)962-968
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Pharmacotherapy
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • anticoagulation
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • congestive heart failure
  • medication safety
  • warfarin


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