Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause for mortality and morbidity in the western world. Arterial thrombosis has multiple origins and may present with different clinical presentations such as acute coronary syndromes, stroke, and peripheral embolization. Furthermore, thrombotic complications may occur during percutaneous interventions. The underlying causes range from atherosclerosis with plaque rupture or erosion, embolization, stasis and hypercoagulable states. Thrombotic complications lead to activation of the intrinsic coagulation system and to platelet aggregation. Despite the development of effective platelet inhibitors, there is still the need for an optimal anticoagulation regimen. While unfractionated heparin is the most commonly used antithrombotic agent, which has major inherent limitations. Direct thrombin inhibitors and anti factor Xa agents are agents which may overcome the limitation of unfractionated heparin. The potential advantages of these new compounds are discussed on the basis of available clinical data in patients with coronary artery disease.