Anticoagulation in catheter ablation (CA) of atrial fibrillation (AF) is of paramount importance for prevention of thromboembolic events, and recent studies favor uninterrupted vitamin K antagonists (VKAs). We aimed to compare the efficacy and safety of new oral anticoagulants (NOACs) to uninterrupted VKAs for anticoagulation in CA by performing a meta-analysis. PubMed, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library, and Clinicaltrials.gov databases were searched for studies comparing NOACs with uninterrupted VKAs in patients who underwent CA for AF from January 1, 2000, to August 31, 2015. Odds ratio (OR) and Peto's OR (POR) were used to report for event rates >1% and <1%, respectively. A total of 11,686 patients with AF who underwent CA in 25 studies were included in this analysis. There was no significant difference between NOACs and uninterrupted VKAs in occurrence of stroke or transient ischemic attacks (POR 1.35, 95% CI 0.62 to 2.94) and major bleeding (POR 0.87, 95% CI 0.58 to 1.31), which were consistent in subgroup analysis of interrupted and uninterrupted NOACs. A lower risk of minor bleeding was observed with NOACs (OR 0.80, 95% CI 0.65 to 1.00), and no major differences were observed for the risk of thromboembolic events, cardiac tamponade or pericardial effusion requiring drainage, and groin hematoma. NOACs, whether interrupted preprocedure or not, were associated with equal rates of stroke or TIA and major bleeding complications and less risk of minor bleeding compared with uninterrupted VKAs in CA for AF.
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