Safety of Novel Oral Anticoagulants Compared With Uninterrupted Warfarin for Catheter Ablation of Atrial Fibrillation

Heather L. Armbruster, John P. Lindsley, Michael P. Moranville, Mohammadali Habibi, Irfan M. Khurram, David D. Spragg, Ronald D. Berger, Hugh Calkins, Joseph E. Marine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Background: The novel oral anticoagulants (NOACs) are used for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation (AF), but their safety and efficacy in the periablation period are not well established. Additionally, no standard procedure for managing periprocedural and intraprocedural anticoagulation has been established. Objective: To evaluate the frequency of hemorrhagic and thrombotic events as well as periprocedural management strategies of NOACs compared with warfarin as anticoagulation therapy for AF ablation. Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study from a prospective AF ablation registry maintained at a large, academic medical center. Results: A total of 374 cases (173 warfarin, 123 dabigatran, 61 rivaroxaban, and 17 apixaban) were included in the analysis. The overall hemorrhagic/thrombotic event rate was 14.2 % (major hemorrhage 2.7%, minor hemorrhage 11.2%, thrombotic stroke 0.5%). The frequency of minor hemorrhage was significantly higher with warfarin compared with dabigatran (15% vs 5.7%, P = 0.012). The average heparin dose required to reach the goal activated clotting time (ACT) was 5600 units for warfarin, 12 900 units for dabigatran (P < 0.001), 15 100 units for rivaroxaban (P < 0.001), and 14 700 units for apixaban (P < 0.001). The average time in minutes to reach the goal ACT was significantly longer, compared with warfarin, for dabigatran (57 vs 28, P < 0.001), rivaroxaban (63 vs 28, P < 0.001), and apixaban (72 vs 28, P < 0.001). Conclusions: Compared with warfarin, periprocedural anticoagulation with dabigatran resulted in fewer minor hemorrhages and total adverse events after AF ablation. Patients anticoagulated with NOACs required larger doses of heparin and took longer to reach the goal ACT compared with patients anticoagulated with warfarin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)278-284
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Pharmacotherapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 26 2015


  • apixaban
  • atrial fibrillation ablation
  • dabigatran
  • novel oral anticoagulants
  • rivaroxaban

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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