Defining nonvalvular atrial fibrillation: A quest for clarification.

Link to article at PubMed

Defining nonvalvular atrial fibrillation: A quest for clarification.

Am Heart J. 2016 Aug;178:161-7

Authors: Martins RP, Galand V, Colette E, Behar N, Pavin D, Leclercq C, Daubert JC, Mabo P

Non-vitamin K oral anticoagulants (NOACs) are currently recommended for patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation since the publication of the 4 major pivotal trials evaluating the efficacy and safety of factor IIa and factor Xa inhibitors. The definition of nonvalvular atrial fibrillation is unclear, varying from one trial to another and even between North American and European guidelines, which is a source of uncertainties in clinical practice. However, many patients with atrial fibrillation present signs of valvular involvement, and clarification of this term is needed to not deny NOACs to patients based on the wrong perception that they may have valvular atrial fibrillation. The currently unique contraindications to NOACs are patients with mechanical heart valves and those with moderate-to-severe mitral stenosis, as stated by the recent 2015 position paper of the European Heart Rhythm Association. Patients with native heart valve involvement, regardless of their severity, are suitable for NOAC therapy. Patients with bioprosthetic heart valves and mitral valve repair may be suitable for NOACs except for the first 3 and the first 3-6 months postoperatively, respectively. Patients with transaortic valve implantation or percutaneous transluminal aortic valvuloplasty are also considered as being eligible for NOACs, although the bleeding risk has to be carefully considered in this population often requiring a combination with antiplatelet therapy. Future studies are warranted to increase the level of evidence of use of NOACs, particularly in patients with transaortic valve implantation and valvular surgery, and to determine whether they could be used in the future in the only 2 remaining contraindications.

PMID: 27502864 [PubMed - in process]

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