Trends and Outcomes of Oral Anticoagulation With Direct Current Cardioversion for Atrial Fibrillation/Flutter at an Academic Medical Center

Samiullah Arshad, George A. Davis, Muhammad Amir, Ythan H. Goldberg, Vedant A. Gupta, Ahmed K. Abdel-Latif, Susan Smyth


Background: Increasing reports suggest the safe use of direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) in electrical cardioversion. The aim of this study was to assess the trends and 30-day outcomes associated with anticoagulation for cardioversion.

Methods: Patients who underwent electrical cardioversion from January 2015 to October 2020 with a 30-day follow-up were included; and outcomes including stroke, transient ischemic attack, intracranial hemorrhage (ICH), and major gastrointestinal bleeding were recorded.

Results: Of the 515 patients, 351 (68%) were men and 164 (32%) were women, with a mean CHA2DS2VASc score of 2.6 ± 1.6. Outpatient apixaban use increased from 10% in 2015 to 46% in 2020 (P < 0.001) with a decline in the use of warfarin from 24% in 2015 to 10% in 2020 (P = 0.023). Apixaban use peri-procedurally for cardioversion increased from 32% in 2015 to 35% in 2020 (P = 0.317), while warfarin use decreased from 23% in 2015 to 14% in 2020 (P = 0.164). At discharge, apixaban prescriptions increased from 21% in 2015 to 61% in 2020 (P < 0.001), while warfarin prescriptions declined from 30% in 2015 to 13% in 2020 (P = 0.009). No ICH was recorded in the 30 days after cardioversion. Ischemic stroke occurred in four (0.7%) patients with one (0.29%) of the 338 patients on a DOAC, one (0.8%) of the 124 patients on warfarin and two (5.5%) of the 36 patients not receiving anticoagulation post cardioversion. There were seven (1%) major gastrointestinal bleeding events in patients on oral anticoagulation, of which four (3%) were on warfarin and three (0.8%) were on DOACs.

Conclusions: Our study shows the increasing and safe use of DOACs for the purpose of cardioversion. The rates of 30-day ischemic stroke post cardioversion were low and only occurred in patients admitted in the intensive care unit.

Cardiol Res. 2022;13(2):88-96


Anticoagulation; DOACs; VKA; Cardioversion; Trends; Outcomes

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