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The Safety of Dabigatran Versus Warfarin in Patients Undergoing Atrial Fibrillation Ablation

The safety and optimal strategy of the use of dabigatran versus uninterrupted warfarin in atrial fibrillation ablation is currently unclear. We performed a retrospective analysis between July 2011-October 2012 of all patients undergoing an AF ablation who received uninterrupted warfarin therapy (199) and the routine cessation of Dabigatran therapy (126) 4 days pre-ablation. Major safety endpoints included: pericardial effusion (requiring pericardiocentesis),  peripheral thromboembolism, CVA, and groin hematoma requiring blood transfusion. Minor endpoints included pericardial effusion and groin hematoma. Dabigatran was restarted the following day after ablation. The warfarin group was older,  had a higher CHADS2, CHA2DS2VASc and HASBLED scores and greater prevalence of aortic plaque. The major complication rate was 2.0% in the warfarin group and 2.4% in the dabigatran group  (P= 0.83).  The minor complication rate was 2.5% in the warfarin group and <1% in the dabigatran group  (P= 0.27).  In the dabigatran group, there was one renal thromboembolic event 4 days post-ablation. All patients in the warfarin group who suffered a major complication required a blood transfusion. Cessation of dabigatran therapy 4 days pre AF ablation has a comparable safety profile to uninterrupted warfarin therapy.

Credits: Luis I. Garcia, MD; Kartikya Ahuja, MD; Mark A. Mascarenhas, MD; Anthony Aizer, MD; Neil Bernstein, MD; Scott A. Bernstein, MD; Steve J. Fowler, MD; Douglas S. Holmes, MD; David S. Park, MD; Larry Chinitz, MD

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Introduction to AFib
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