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Vasc Health Risk Manag. 2010 Mar 3;6:95-103.

Modern role for clopidogrel in management of atrial fibrillation and stroke reduction.

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  • 1Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, School of Medicine, Stanford University, CA 94305-5406, USA. maegdefessel@stanford.edu


Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained cardiac arrhythmia. The prevalence of AF increases sharply in old age (prevalence approximately 10% among persons 80 years of age and older). The expected risk for ischemic stroke is increased five-fold by the presence of AF, primarily as a result of cardiogenic embolism. Multiple large-scale, randomized trials have been completed or are still underway to find optimal, efficacious, and relatively safe ways to reduce the risk of ischemic stroke and other systemic thromboembolic events related to AF. Antithrombotic strategies are accompanied by serious bleeding complications that threaten patients in need of medical stroke prevention. Treatment regimens for preventing thromboembolism in AF patients range from vitamin K antagonists such as warfarin or coumadins, antiplatelet drugs like aspirin or clopidogrel, to newly developed orally available antithrombotics like the direct thrombin inhibitor dabigatran, or the Factor Xa-inhibitor rivaroxaban. The available anticoagulant and antiplatelet drugs have different advantages and disadvantages. This review attempts to delineate the specific role of clopidogrel in patients with AF and at risk of stroke, taking into consideration new and ongoing trials in this important field of medical practice.


antiplatelet agents; atrial fibrillation; clopidogrel; ischemic stroke

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