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Current Pharmaceutical Design


ISSN (Print): 1381-6128
ISSN (Online): 1873-4286

Review Article

Antithrombotic Treatment after Atrial Fibrillation Ablation

Author(s): Christos-Konstantinos Antoniou*, Panagiota Manolakou, Petros Arsenos, Polychronis Dilaveris, Konstantinos Gatzoulis and Dimitrios Tousoulis

Volume 26, Issue 23, 2020

Page: [2703 - 2714] Pages: 12

DOI: 10.2174/1381612826666200407154329

Price: $65


Atrial fibrillation is a major cause of debilitating strokes and anticoagulation is an established and indispensable therapy for reducing their rate. Ablation of the arrhythmia has emerged as a putative means of disrupting its natural course by isolating its triggers and modifying its substrate, dependent on the chosen method. An important dilemma lies in the need for continuation of anticoagulation therapy in those previously receiving it following an, apparently, successful intervention, purportedly preventing arrhythmia recurrence with considerably high rates. Current guidance, given scarcity of high-quality data from randomized trials, focuses on established knowledge and recommends anticoagulation continuation based solely on estimated thromboembolic risk. In the present review, it will be attempted to summarize the pathophysiological rationale for maintaining anticoagulation post-successful ablation, along with the latter’s definition, including the two-fold effects of the procedure per se on thrombogenicity. Available evidence pointing to an overall clinical benefit of anticoagulation withdrawal following careful patient assessment will be discussed, including ongoing randomized trials aiming to offer definitive answers. Finally, the proposed mode of post-ablation anticoagulation will be presented, including the emerging, guideline-endorsed, role of direct oral anticoagulants in the field, altering cost/benefit ratio of anticoagulation and potentially affecting the very decision regarding its discontinuation.

Keywords: Atrial fibrillation, ablation, anticoagulation, thromboembolic risk modulators, atrial myopathy, OCEAN trial, direct oral anticoagulants, left atrial appendage closure.

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