Purpose: Both warfarin and non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants (NOACs) have pleiotropic effects including anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic properties. This study aims to explore whether arrhythmia recurrence after AF ablation is influenced by the choice of oral anticoagulant. Methods: We retrospectively studied all patients who underwent primary AF ablation between 2011 and 2017 and divided them into two groups according to the anticoagulant used: Warfarin vs. NOACs. The primary endpoint was atrial tachyarrhythmia recurrence after ablation. Results: Of the 1106 patients who underwent AF ablation in the study period (median age 62.5 years; 71.5% males, 48.2% persistent AF), 697 (63%) received warfarin and 409 (37%) received NOACs. After a median of 26.4 months follow-up, arrhythmia recurrence was noted in 368 patients in warfarin group and 173 patients in NOACs group, with a 1-year recurrence probability of 35% vs. 36% (log rank P = 0.81) and 5-year recurrence probability of 62% vs. 63% (Log rank P = 0.32). However, NOACs use was associated with a higher probability of recurrence (46% for 1 year, 68% for 5 years) in patients with persistent AF compared with those taking warfarin (34% for 1 year, 63% for 5 years; log rank P = 0.01 and P = 0.02 respectively). Multivariate analysis indicated that in patients with persistent AF, use of NOACs was an independent risk factor of atrial tachyarrhythmia recurrence after ablation (HR 1.39, 95% CI 1.07–1.81, P = 0.013). Conclusion: In this large contemporary cohort, overall AF recurrence after ablation was similar with NOACs or warfarin use. However, in patients with persistent AF, NOACs use was associated with a higher probability of arrhythmia recurrence and was an independent risk factor of recurrence at long-term follow-up.
- Atrial fibrillation
- Catheter ablation
- Non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulant
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Pharmacology (medical)