Objectives: This study evaluated the long-term efficacy of a standard antithrombotic strategy versus half-dose direct oral anticoagulation (DOAC) after Watchman implantation. Background: No consensus currently exists on the selection of the most effective antithrombotic strategy to prevent device-related thrombosis (DRT) in patients undergoing endocardial left atrial appendage closure. Methods: After successful left atrial appendage closure, consecutive patients were prescribed a standard antithrombotic strategy (SAT) or long-term half-dose DOAC (hdDOAC). The primary composite endpoint was DRT and thromboembolic (TE) and bleeding events. Results: Overall, 555 patients (mean age 75 ± 8 years, 63% male; median CHA2DS2-VASc [congestive heart failure, hypertension, age ≥75 years, diabetes mellitus, prior stroke or transient ischemic attack or thromboembolism, vascular disease, age 65-74 years, sex category] score 4 [interquartile range (IQR): 3-6]; median HAS-BLED [hypertension, abnormal renal or liver function, stroke, bleeding, labile international normalized ratio, elderly, drugs or alcohol] score 3 [IQR: 2-4]) were included. Patients were categorized into 2 groups (SAT: n = 357 vs hdDOAC: n = 198). Baseline clinical characteristics were similar between groups. The median follow-up duration was 13 months (IQR: 12-15 months). DRT occurred in 12 (2.1%) patients, all in the SAT group (3.4% vs 0.0%; log-rank P = 0.009). The risk of nonprocedural major bleeding was significantly more favorable in the hdDOAC group (0.5% vs. 3.9%; log-rank P = 0.018). The rate of the primary composite endpoint of DRT and TE and major bleeding events was 9.5% in SAT patients and 1.0% in hdDOAC patients (HR: 9.8; 95% CI: 2.3-40.7; P = 0.002). Conclusions: After successful Watchman implantation, long-term half-dose DOAC significantly reduced the risk of the composite endpoint of DRT and TE and major bleeding events compared with a standard, antiplatelet-based, antithrombotic therapy.
- antiplatelet therapy
- left atrial appendage
- oral anticoagulation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine