Stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation: do we still need warfarin?
ABSTRACT Oral anticoagulation with vitamin K antagonists (warfarin, phenprocoumon) is successful in both primary and secondary stroke prevention in patients with atrial fibrillation, yielding a 60-70% relative reduction in stroke risk compared with placebo, as well as a mortality reduction of 26%. However, these agents have a number of well documented shortcomings. Acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) reduces the relative risk of stroke by a nonsignificant 19% compared with placebo, and increased bleeding risk offsets any therapeutic gain from the combination of ASA with clopidogrel. This review describes the current landscape and developments in stroke prevention in patients with atrial fibrillation, with special reference to secondary prevention.
A number of new drugs for oral anticoagulation that do not exhibit the limitations of vitamin K antagonists are under investigation. These include direct factor Xa inhibitors and direct thrombin inhibitors. Recent studies (RE-LY, ROCKET-AF, AVERROES, ARISTOTLE) provide promising results for new agents, including higher efficacy and significantly lower incidences of intracranial bleeds compared with warfarin. The new substances show similar results in secondary as in primary stroke prevention in patients with atrial fibrillation.
New anticoagulants add to the therapeutic options for patients with atrial fibrillation, and offer a number of advantages over warfarin, for both the clinician and patient, including a favourable bleeding profile and convenience of use. Consideration of these new anticoagulants will improve clinical decision making.
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ABSTRACT: Introduction: Until recently, only vitamin K antagonists (VKAs) were used for long-term anticoagulation. New oral anticoagulants, with pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic characteristics different to VKAs, are now available for some indications. Rivaroxaban (Xarelto®) is an oral Factor Xa inhibitor approved in many countries for long-term treatment of patients with atrial fibrillation or venous thromboembolism. This article is addressed to all professionals involved in the management of treated patients to highlight the characteristics of rivaroxaban and provide practical guidance on management of treated patients. Areas covered: This article is based on a consensus of specialists involved in the management of anticoagulant treatment, including thrombosis experts, cardiologists, neurologists, emergency medicine specialists, and general practitioners. The authors performed a nonsystematic review of the literature, and expressed guidance statements based on the results of the review as well as personal experience. Expert opinion: Availability of new anticoagulant drugs, including rivaroxaban, is an important step forward to allow easier, more effective, and safer long-term anticoagulation in patients in whom adequate anticoagulation is currently denied due to the limitations of VKAs. However, given their totally new properties, associated risks, and expected broad clinical use, expert professionals and manufacturers must urgently tackle a series of issues.Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy 02/2013; · 2.86 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Retinal artery occlusions (RAO) are severe conditions threatening vision, affecting the subsequent mortality of these patients. We retrospectively reviewed the work-up performed in all patients diagnosed with retinal artery occlusions evaluated in two university hospitals in France (Tours and Angers). A total of 131 patients (131 eyes) with RAO were included, with a mean age of 69.5years and male predominance (64 %). Central retinal artery occlusion (CRAO) resulted in poor initial visual acuity (90 % less than count fingers), whereas those with branch retinal artery occlusion (BRAO) had better visual acuity (63.6 % better than 20/40). Systemic arterial hypertension (HTN) was the most common associated risk factor. Carotid stenosis was found in 50 % of cases, leading to endarterectomy in nine patients (6.9 %), while an underlying cardiac cause was implicated in 14 % of cases. Giant cell arteritis was diagnosed in five patients (3.8 %). Work-up of RAO may detect treatable cardiovascular and systemic conditions, allowing prevention of further ocular recurrence or stroke. Etiologic work-up of retinal arterial occlusion can diagnose potentially treatable underlying systemic conditions, such as giant cell arteritis, cardiac conditions and extracranial cerebrovascular disease. Giant cell arteritis has to be ruled out at the acute phase, while the role and timing of semi-urgent testing (supra-aortic Doppler echography, echocardiography, electrocardiography, lab work-up) or delayed testing (transesophageal echocardiography, brain imaging) have yet to be determined.Journal francais d'ophtalmologie 08/2013; · 0.51 Impact Factor
- Journal of the American Heart Association. 01/2013; 2(1):e000088.