Thromboembolic cerebrovascular accident remains a rare but potentially devastating complication of catheter-based atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation. Uninterrupted oral anticoagulant therapy with warfarin has become the standard of care when performing catheter-based AF ablation. Compared with warfarin, apixaban, a factor Xa inhibitor, has been shown to reduce the risk of stroke and major bleeding in nonvalvular AF. With an increase in apixaban use for stroke prophylaxis in patients with AF, there is an increased interest in the safety and efficacy of uninterrupted apixaban therapy during AF ablation. We compared the safety and efficacy of uninterrupted OA therapy with either warfarin or apixaban in all patients who underwent catheter-based AF ablation at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and at Augusta University Medical Center from January 7, 2013, to February 25, 2016. All patients underwent a transesophageal echocardiogram on the day of their ablation to assess for the presence of intracardiac thrombi. All complications were identified and classified as bleeding, thromboembolic events, or other. A total of 627 patients were analyzed as described earlier. There were 310 patients in the warfarin group and 317 patients in the apixaban group. There were 8 complications in the warfarin group and 5 complications in the apixaban group (p = 0.38). There were no thromboembolic complications in either group. In conclusion, the use of apixaban is as safe and effective as warfarin for uninterrupted OA therapy during catheter-based ablation of AF.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine