[Anticoagulation in atrial fibrillation - an update].
ABSTRACT The correct anticoagulation regimen for prevention of thromboembolic events is essential in patients with atrial fibrillation. However, only a minority of patients receives anticoagulation according to the guidelines. The current guidelines are intended to make the indication for anticoagulation more simple and are summarized in the present article. This includes recommendations for chronic anticoagulation, prevention of thromboembolic events after cardioversion and in ablation of atrial fibrillation.
- SourceAvailable from: Christoph Geller[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Anticoagulation in cardioversion of atrial fibrillation is currently performed with unfractionated heparin (UFH) and oral anticoagulants, with or without guidance by transesophageal echocardiography (TEE). Low-molecular-weight heparins may reduce the risk of bleeding, may obviate the need for intravenous access, and do not require frequent anticoagulation monitoring. In a randomized, prospective multicenter trial, we compared the safety and efficacy of enoxaparin administered subcutaneously with intravenous UFH followed by the oral anticoagulant phenprocoumon in 496 patients scheduled for cardioversion of atrial fibrillation of >48 hours' and < or =1 year's duration. Patients were stratified to cardioversion with (n=431) and without (n=65) guidance by TEE. The study aimed to demonstrate noninferiority of enoxaparin compared with UFH+phenprocoumon with regard to the incidence of embolic events, all-cause death, and major bleeding complications. Secondary end points included successful cardioversion, maintenance of sinus rhythm until study end, and minor bleeding complications. Of 496 randomized patients, 428 were analyzed per protocol. Enoxaparin was noninferior to UFH+phenprocoumon with regard to the incidence of the composite primary end point in a per-protocol analysis (7 of 216 patients versus 12 of 212 patients, respectively; P=0.016) and in an intention-to-treat analysis (7 of 248 patients versus 12 of 248 patients, respectively; P=0.013). There was no significant difference between the 2 groups in the number of patients reverted to sinus rhythm. Enoxaparin is noninferior to UFH+phenprocoumon for prevention of ischemic and embolic events, bleeding complications, and death in TEE-guided cardioversion of atrial fibrillation. Its easier application and more stable anticoagulation may make it the preferred drug for initiation of anticoagulation in this setting.Circulation 04/2004; 109(8):997-1003. · 15.20 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The need for prophylactic anticoagulation to prevent embolism before direct current cardioversion is performed for atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter is controversial. To examine this issue further, a retrospective review was undertaken to assess the incidence of embolic complications after cardioversion. The review involved 454 elective direct current cardioversions performed for atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter over a 7 year period. The incidence rate of embolic complications was 1.32% (six patients); the complications ranged from minor visual disturbances to a fatal cerebrovascular event. All six patients had atrial fibrillation, and none had been on anticoagulant therapy (p = 0.026). The duration of atrial fibrillation was less than 1 week in five of the six patients who had embolic complications. Baseline characteristics of patients with a postcardioversion embolic event are compared with those of patients who did not have an embolic event. There was no difference in the prevalence of hypertension, diabetes mellitus or prior stroke between the two groups, and there was no difference in the number of patients who were postoperative or had poor left ventricular function. Left atrial size was similar between the two groups. No patient in the embolic group had valvular disease. No patient with atrial flutter had an embolic event regardless of anticoagulant status; therefore, anticoagulation is not recommended for patients with atrial flutter undergoing cardioversion. Prophylactic anticoagulation is pivotal in patients undergoing elective direct current cardioversion for atrial fibrillation, even those with atrial fibrillation of less than 1 week's duration.Journal of the American College of Cardiology 04/1992; 19(4):851-5. · 14.09 Impact Factor
- Heart Rhythm 07/2007; 4(6):816-61. · 5.05 Impact Factor