Am J Cardiol. 2021 Apr 1;144 Suppl 1:S32-S39. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2020.12.017.
In patients with atrial fibrillation who undergo percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), both anticoagulation and dual antiplatelet therapy (aspirin plus a P2Y12 inhibitor) are indicated. However, this "triple" antithrombotic therapy is associated with high rates of bleeding. Finding the right balance of reducing ischemic risk and protecting coronary stents from restenosis while not increasing bleeding risk is difficult. In the past 5 years, 6 randomized clinical trials have shown the benefit of dropping aspirin from the triple therapy regimen to create "dual" therapy (oral anticoagulants and P2Y12 inhibitors alone) with reductions in bleeding without a significant increase in ischemic events. Because of small trends toward higher risk of stent thrombosis, especially in higher risk patients with acute coronary syndromes, current recommendations call for dual therapy as the "default" regimen, but that risk stratification be used to help inform the decision on potentially using a brief period of triple therapy in selected high ischemic risk patients. For long-term therapy (after one year post-PCI), recent studies have found oral anticoagulation alone without any antiplatelet therapy has a favorable benefit risk ratio. Thus, while dropping aspirin at varying times post-PCI has become an attractive strategy in many patient groups, careful patient selection and individualized assessment of the risk:benefit balance is warranted.