Safety and efficacy of anticoagulant monotherapy in atrial fibrillation and stable coronary artery disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis


      • OAC monotherapy might have a lower incidence of major bleeding in patients with AF and stable CAD.
      • OAC monotherapy does not confer a higher risk of major adverse cardiovascular events, mortality or stroke.
      • Larger scale studies are needed to validate our findings.



      Adjunctive use of oral anticoagulant (OAC) and antiplatelet therapy (APT) in patients with stable coronary artery disease (CAD) and nonvalvular atrial fibrillation (AF) is a challenge of daily practice.


      A comprehensive literature search of databases was performed to identify studies comparing the safety and efficacy of OAC monotherapy and combined therapy (OAC plus single (S) APT). Events including major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE), all-cause mortality, stroke and major bleeding were analyzed.


      Seven articles comprising 11,070 subjects were identified. Combined therapy was associated with a significantly higher risk of major bleeding (pooled hazard ratio (HR) of 1.62, 95% CI 1.40–1.86, p=<0.0001) compared to the OAC monotherapy. There was no significant difference between the two comparison arms in terms of MACE (HR 1.14; 95% CI 0.97–1.34, p = 0.11), stroke (HR 1.05; 95% CI 0.77–1.43, p = 0.78) and all-cause mortality (HR 1.15; 95% CI 0.94–1.40, p = 0.16). Stratified analysis by inclusion of only patients with coronary stents attenuated the safety effect of monotherapy. Subgroup analysis based on the study design, type of OAC, major bleeding criteria and APT revealed findings consistent with the pooled HR. The combined therapy group had a 19% and 38% higher risk of MACE in studies with a history of MI (p = 0.03) and with the use of rivaroxaban (p = 0.02), respectively.


      OAC monotherapy might have a lower incidence of major bleeding events with no higher overall risk of MACE, ischemic stroke and all-cause mortality compared to the combined therapy group.


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