Advances in anticoagulation management of patients undergoing cardioversion of nonvalvular atrial fibrillation
Benetos G, Bonou M, Toutouzas K, Diamantopoulos P, Viniou N, Barbetseas J.
Hamostaseologie. 2017 Oct 26;37(4):277-285.
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a major cause of stroke. The restoration of sinus rhythm through cardioversion, either chemical or electrical is a common practice. Interestingly, there is an incremental increase from the baseline risk for embolisation in the immediate post-cardioversion period, with most events occurring within 10 days from cardioversion. Especially patients with recent onset AF show the lowest rates of antithrombotic therapy, while having a high stroke risk. Despite the increased risk for embolisation, anticoagulation in patients undergoing cardioversion of atrial fibrillation is often inadequate. Moreover, since the implementation of non-vitamin K antagonists oral anticoagulants (DOACs) there are several therapeutic approaches for pericardioversion anticoagulant therapy and not all suits to all patients. In addition, the extensive use of transesophageal echocardiography provides an alternative strategy, especially useful for patients of high haemorrhagic risk. In this review article, we aim to provide an update on the anticoagulation strategies for patients undergoing cardioversion of non-valvular atrial fibrillation in the advent of the use of DOACs.