Background: The safety of discontinuing oral anticoagulant (OAC) after ablation for atrial fibrillation (AF) in Japanese patients has not been clarified.Methods and Results:A study based on the Atrial Fibrillation registry to Follow the long-teRm Outcomes and use of aNTIcoagulants aftER Ablation (AF Frontier Ablation Registry) was conducted. Data were collected from 3,451 consecutive patients (74.1% men; age, 63.3±10.3 years) who had undergone AF ablation at any of 24 cardiovascular centers in Japan between August 2011 and July 2017. During a 20.7-month follow-up period, OAC therapy was discontinued in 1,836 (53.2%) patients; 51 patients (1.5%) suffered a stroke/transient ischemic attack (TIA), 71 (2.1%) suffered major bleeding, and 36 (1.0%) died. Patients in whom OAC therapy was discontinued were significantly younger than those in whom OACs were continued, and their CHA2DS2-VASc scores were significantly lower. The incidences of stroke/TIA, major bleeding, and death were significantly lower among these patients. Upon multivariate adjustment, stroke events were independently associated with relatively high baseline CHA2DS2-VASc scores but not with OAC status.
Conclusions: Although the incidences of stroke/TIA, major bleeding, and death were relatively low among patients for whom OAC therapy was discontinued, stroke/TIA occurrence was strongly associated with a high baseline stroke risk rather than with OAC status. Thus, discontinuation of OAC therapy requires careful consideration, especially in patients with a high baseline stroke risk.
Keywords: Ablation; Anticoagulant drugs; Atrial fibrillation; Mortality; Stroke.