Patients on rivaroxaban requiring percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) represent a clinical conundrum. We aimed to investigate whether rivaroxaban, with or without an additional bolus of unfractionated heparin (UFH), effectively inhibits coagulation activation during PCI. Stable patients (n=108) undergoing elective PCI and on stable dual antiplatelet therapy were randomised (2:2:2:1) to a short treatment course of rivaroxaban 10 mg (n=30), rivaroxaban 20 mg (n=32), rivaroxaban 10 mg plus UFH (n=30) or standard peri-procedural UFH (n=16). Blood samples for markers of thrombin generation and coagulation activation were drawn prior to and at 0, 0.5, 2, 6-8 and 48 hours (h) after start of PCI. In patients treated with rivaroxaban (10 or 20 mg) and patients treated with rivaroxaban plus heparin, the levels of prothrombin fragment 1 + 2 at 2 h post-PCI were 0.16 [0.1] nmol/l (median) [interquartile range, IQR] and 0.17 [0.2] nmol/l, respectively. Thrombin-antithrombin complex values at 2 h post-PCI were 3.90 [6.8]µg/l and 3.90 [10.1] µg/l, respectively, remaining below the upper reference limit (URL) after PCI and stenting. This was comparable to the control group of UFH treatment alone. However, median values for thrombin-antithrombin complex passed above the URL with increasing tendency, starting at 2 h post-PCI in the UFH-alone arm but not in rivaroxaban-treated patients. In this exploratory trial, rivaroxaban effectively suppressed coagulation activation after elective PCI and stenting.
Keywords: Anticoagulation; coronary artery disease; rivaroxaban; thrombosis.