Antithrombotic Therapy for Atrial Fibrillation and Coronary Disease Demystified

Jason G Andrade, Marc W Deyell, Graham C Wong, Laurent Macle
Canadian Journal of Cardiology 2018, 34 (11): 1426-1436
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a progressive chronic disease characterized by exacerbations and periods of remission. It is estimated that up to 20% to 30% of those with AF also have coronary artery disease (CAD), and 5% to 15% will require percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). In patients with concomitant AF and CAD, management remains challenging and requires a careful and balanced assessment of the risk of bleeding against the anticipated impact on ischemic outcomes (AF-related stroke and systemic embolism, as well as ischemic coronary events). Oral anticoagulation (OAC) is indicated for the prevention of AF-related stroke and systemic embolism, whereas antiplatelet therapy is indicated for the prevention of coronary events. Each offers a relative efficacy benefit (dual antiplatelet therapy [DAPT] is more effective than OAC alone in reducing cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction, stent thrombosis, and ischemic coronary events in a population with acute coronary syndromes [ACS]), but with a relative compromise (DAPT is significantly inferior to OAC for the prevention of stroke/systemic embolism in an AF population at increased risk of stroke). The purpose of this review is to explore the current evidence and rationale for antithrombotic treatment strategies in patients with both AF and CAD. Specifically, there is a focus on how to best tailor the therapeutic choices (OAC and antiplatelet therapy) to individual patients based on their underlying coronary presentation.


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