Non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants are as effective as warfarin for patients undergoing catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation - and may be safer, a European conference has heard.
Professor Paulus Kirchhof of the University of Birmingham, UK, and colleagues investigated whether non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants could be recommended for catheter ablation patients.
Some 633 patients in Europe and the US with atrial fibrillation and additional stroke risk factors were recruited into the study, and underwent catheter ablation. They were given either continuous apixaban or a vitamin K antagonist.
In the following three months, equal numbers of patients in both groups suffered stroke, major bleeding or died. Cognitive function improved equally in both treatment groups.
Professor Kirchhof commented: "The results show that apixaban is a safe alternative to warfarin during catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation in patients at risk of stroke.
“This is the first randomised trial to show that cognitive function is improving after atrial fibrillation ablation. It is possible that this is due to continuous anticoagulation, although we did not test this specifically."
Results were presented at a meeting of the European Society of Cardiology in Barcelona, Spain.
Source: European Society of Cardiology 20 March 2018
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