Heparin bridging vs. uninterrupted oral anticoagulation in patients with Atrial Fibrillation undergoing Coronary Artery Stenting. Results from the AFCAS registry

Circ J. 2012;76(6):1363-8. doi: 10.1253/circj.cj-11-1206. Epub 2012 Mar 9.


Background: The anti-thrombotic strategy during coronary stenting is challenging in patients on long-term oral anticoagulation (OAC) because of atrial fibrillation (AF). Uninterrupted OAC (UAC) is increasingly used, but bridging therapy (BT) is still in common use.

Methods and results: Management of patients with Atrial Fibrillation undergoing Coronary Artery Stenting (AFCAS) is a prospective multicenter European registry that recruited 963 patients with AF undergoing coronary stenting. To compare the safety of UAC and BT, bleeding complications and major adverse cardiac and cerebrovascular events (MACCE; death, myocardial infarction, target vessel revascularization, stent thrombosis and stroke) were assessed in 290 patients treated with UAC and 161 patients with BT during a 30-day follow-up period. In the BT group, OAC was interrupted for a median of 5 days. Overall bleeding complications tended to be more common in the BT group (18.6% vs. 12.1%, P=0.07), with no significant difference in the rate of major bleeding (2.5% vs. 1.4%) or MACCE (6.2% vs. 3.8%). After adjustment for propensity score, BT was not associated with bleeding complications (odds ratio [OR], 1.38; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.77-2.48, P=0.28) or MACCE (OR, 1.16; 95%CI: 0.44-3.05, P=0.76). Periprocedural international normalized ratio was not associated with bleeding or MACCE.

Conclusions: UAC does not increase perioperative complications during coronary stenting and is a simple and cost-effective alternative to conventional heparin bridging.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Angioplasty, Balloon, Coronary / adverse effects
  • Angioplasty, Balloon, Coronary / instrumentation*
  • Angioplasty, Balloon, Coronary / mortality
  • Anticoagulants / administration & dosage*
  • Anticoagulants / adverse effects
  • Atrial Fibrillation / complications
  • Atrial Fibrillation / drug therapy*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / mortality
  • Coronary Artery Disease / complications
  • Coronary Artery Disease / mortality
  • Coronary Artery Disease / therapy*
  • Coronary Thrombosis / etiology
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Drug Substitution
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Hemorrhage / chemically induced
  • Heparin / administration & dosage*
  • Heparin / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Myocardial Infarction / etiology
  • Odds Ratio
  • Propensity Score
  • Prospective Studies
  • Registries
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Stents*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anticoagulants
  • Heparin