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Keywords:

  • ablation;
  • atrial fibrillation;
  • dabigatran;
  • D-dimer;
  • periablation anticoagulation;
  • rebleeding;
  • time to ablation

Background

We aimed to evaluate the feasibility of an oral direct thrombin inhibitor, dabigatran, as a periprocedural anticoagulant for use with ablation of atrial fibrillation (AF).

Methods

Consecutive patients scheduled to undergo an AF ablation were randomly assigned to receive dabigatran (n = 45) or warfarin (n = 45) to compare their clinical feasibility. Both of those oral anticoagulants were discontinued the day before the ablation and were resumed after confirming hemostasis of the venipuncture site. A bridging therapy with heparin was not used in either of the patient groups.

Results

Dabigatran was switched to warfarin before the ablation because of dyspepsia in three patients. An occurrence of rebleeding from the venipuncture site was less common in dabigatran-allocated patients than in warfarin-allocated patients (20% vs 44%; P = 0.013). The reduction in the D-dimer level after the initiation of oral anticoagulants was greater in the dabigatran-allocated patients than in the warfarin-allocated patients. The time from the initiation of the anticoagulants to the ablation was significantly shorter in the dabigatran-allocated patients than in the warfarin-allocated patients (43 ± 7 vs 63 ± 13 days; P < 0.0001). There was only one fatal periprocedural complication in a patient receiving warfarin, who had a mesenteric arterial thrombosis after the ablation.

Conclusions

An anticoagulation strategy with dabigatran may surpass that with warfarin in reducing both the periprocedural risk of minor bleeding and a hypercoagulable state, and the time to ablation in patients undergoing ablation of AF.