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Eur Heart J Cardiovasc Pharmacother. 2017 Jul 1;3(3):157-162. doi: 10.1093/ehjcvp/pvx002.

Triple antithrombotic therapy in patients with atrial fibrillation undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention: a viewpoint.

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Department of Critical Care Medicine, UHB NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK.
Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, University of Birmingham, SWBH and UHB NHS Trusts, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK.
Department of Cardiology, SWBH NHS Trust, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK.
Department of Cardiology, UHB NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK.


Patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) are treated with dual antiplatelet therapy to reduce the risk of subsequent myocardial infarction (MI) and stent thrombosis. Approximately 5-10% of patients undergoing PCI also have atrial fibrillation (AF). Patients with AF have an additional requirement for anticoagulation, as dual antiplatelet therapy alone is insufficient to adequately reduce the risk of stroke in patients with AF. However, it is now well established that combining anticoagulants with dual antiplatelet therapy also causes a significant increase in the risk of bleeding. Hence, there is great interest in discovering the optimal blend of antiplatelet therapy and oral anticoagulation in this situation, aiming to reduce the risk of stent thrombosis, recurrent MI, and stroke, while also minimizing the risk of bleeding. Recent studies have experimented with combining oral anticoagulation with a single antiplatelet agent, rather than combining oral anticoagulation with dual antiplatelet therapy. These studies show that this reduces the risk of bleeding but are underpowered to determine whether this still provides as much cardiovascular benefit. This review summarizes the currently available evidence on this topic and highlights the key questions that remain to be answered including ongoing clinical trials in the field.


Anticoagulant; Antiplatelet therapy; Antithrombotic; Bleeding; P2Y12 inhibitor

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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