Direct-current cardioversion (DCCV) for persistent atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter (AF) carries a risk of thromboembolic events (TEs). Therapeutic anticoagulation with warfarin is recommended for 3 to 4 weeks before and 4 weeks after DCCV to reduce TE; however, the safety of short-term anticoagulation with the novel oral anticoagulants (dabigatran and rivaroxaban) before DCCV has not been assessed. A retrospective cohort study was performed on all patients undergoing elective DCCV for AF at Northwestern Memorial Hospital from June 1, 2012 to September 30, 2013. Inclusion criteria included patients taking any of the novel oral anticoagulants for 21 to 60 days before DCCV and successful DCCV to sinus rhythm. Patients were monitored for a minimum of 60 days after DCCV to evaluate for TEs including stroke, transient ischemic attack, systemic emboli, and death. In total, 53 patients (47 men, 89%; age 65 ± 10 years, median 66) were evaluated. Agents used were dabigatran (30 patients, 57%) and rivaroxaban (23 patients, 43%) for an average of 38 ± 9 days. The mean CHADS2 score was 1.2 ± 1.1 (score = 0, 26%; 1, 43%; 2, 17%; and >3, 13%). Eleven patients (21%) underwent a transesophageal echocardiography before their DCCV; all showed no thrombus. No patients were found to have episodes of TE within 60 days of DCCV. No patients were found to have major bleeding events. In conclusion, the use of short-term dabigatran or rivaroxaban therapy for DCCV of AF appears safe.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine