The Cost of Breaking Even: a Perspective on the Net Clinical Impact of Adding Aspirin to Antithrombotic Therapies in Patients with Atrial Fibrillation Undergoing Percutaneous Coronary Intervention.

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Cardiovascular drugs and therapy


Purpose: Outcomes from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) inform the latest recommendations on percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) management of a short period of oral anticoagulation (OAC), a P2Y12 receptor inhibitor, and aspirin for 1 week or until hospital discharge in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) undergoing PCI, and up to 4 weeks in individuals considered to be at high-risk for ischemic events, followed by discontinuation of aspirin and continuation of OAC and a P2Y12 inhibitor for up to 12 months.

Methods: We examined and summarized the outcomes of bleeding and major adverse cardiac events (MACEs) from RCTs and meta-analyses, published between 2013 and 2022, comparing therapy with OAC and a P2Y12 inhibitor with and without aspirin in AF patients undergoing PCI with stenting.

Results: Data comparing dual therapy with OAC and a P2Y12 inhibitor alone to triple therapy with OAC, a P2Y12 inhibitor, and aspirin with respect to the risks of MACEs, including stent thrombosis within the first 30 days, are underpowered and inconclusive. The addition of aspirin does not appear to be associated with a decreased risk of ischemic events, even in patients with high-risk CHA2DS2-VASc scores, but does significantly increase bleeding hazards. The increased safety of newer generation drug-eluting stents may have further minimized any theoretical anti-ischemic benefits of aspirin. The possible attenuation of the pleiotropic effects of concomitant cardiovascular medications by aspirin may also have been a contributing factor.

Conclusion: The addition of aspirin to OAC and a P2Y12 inhibitor is likely associated with a net clinical harm in patients with AF who undergo PCI with stenting, even within the first 1-4 weeks after PCI. Revisiting the guideline recommendations to administer aspirin in this timeframe may be warranted.


Online ahead of print.





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