Beyond 1 year after percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), guidelines recommend anticoagulant monotherapy in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) rather than dual therapy with an anticoagulant and an antiplatelet drug. The risks and benefits of this strategy, however, remain uncertain. We examined hospitalization for bleeding and ischaemic risk beyond 1 year after PCI in patients with AF treated with monotherapy vs. dual therapy. Furthermore, among patients treated with monotherapy, we compared direct oral anticoagulant (DOAC) therapy and vitamin K antagonist (VKA) therapy.
Methods and results
We included all patients with AF undergoing first-time PCI between 2003 and 2017 from the Western Denmark Heart Registry and followed them for up to 4 years. Follow-up started 15 months after PCI to enable assessment of medical treatment after 12 months. Using a Cox regression model, we computed weighted hazard ratios (HRw) of hospitalization for bleeding and major adverse cardiac events (MACEs). Analyses comparing monotherapy vs. dual therapy included 3331 patients, and analyses comparing DOAC vs. VKA monotherapy included 1275 patients. Risks of hospitalization for bleeding [HRw 0.90, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.75–1.09] and MACE (HRw 1.04, 95% CI 0.90–1.19) were similar with monotherapy and dual therapy. Similarly, risks of hospitalization for bleeding (HRw 1.27, 95% CI 0.84–1.92) and MACE (HRw 1.15, 95% CI 0.87–1.50) were equal with DOAC and VKA monotherapy.
Our results support long-term OAC monotherapy beyond 1 year after PCI in patients with atrial fibrillation and suggest that DOAC monotherapy is as safe and effective as VKA monotherapy.