Purpose: Compared with warfarin, novel oral anticoagulants (NOACs) are convenient to use, although they require a blanking period immediately before radiofrequency catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation (AF). We compared NOACs and uninterrupted warfarin in the peri-procedural period of AF ablation. Materials and Methods: We compared 141 patients treated with peri-procedural NOACs (72% men; 58±11 years old; 71% with paroxysmal AF) and 281 age-, sex-, AF type-, and history of stroke-matched patients treated with uninterrupted warfarin. NOACs were stopped 24 hours before the procedure and restarted on the same procedure day after hemostasis was achieved. Results: We found no difference in the CHA2DS2-VASc (p=0.376) and HAS-BLED scores (p=0.175) between the groups. The preprocedural anticoagulation duration was significantly shorter in the NOAC group (76.3±110.7 days) than in the warfarin group (274.7±582.7 days, p<0.001). The intra-procedural total heparin requirement was higher (p<0.001), although mean activated clotting time was shorter (350.0±25.0 s vs. 367.4±42.9 s, p<0.001), in the NOAC group than in the warfarin group. There was no significant difference in thromboembolic events (1.4% vs. 0%, p=0.111) or major bleeding (1.4% vs. 3.9%, p=0.235) between the NOAC and warfarin groups. Minor stroke occurred in two cases within 10 hours of the procedure (underlying CHA2DS2-VASc scores 0 and 1) in the NOAC group. Conclusion: Pre-procedural anticoagulation duration was shorter and intra-procedural heparin requirement was higher with NOAC than with uninterrupted warfarin during AF ablation. Although the peri-procedural thromboembolism and bleeding incidences did not differ, minor stroke occurred in two cases in the NOAC group.
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