Spontaneous echo-contrast (SEC) and thrombus observed in trans-esophageal echocardiography (TEE) is known as a strong surrogate marker for future risk of ischemic stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) or atrial flutter (AFL). The efficacy of non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants (NOAC) compared to warfarin to prevent SEC or thrombus in patients with AF or AFL is currently unknown. AF or AFL patients who underwent direct current cardioversion (DCCV) and pre-DCCV TEE evaluation from January 2014 to October 2016 in a single center were analyzed. The prevalence of SEC and thrombus were compared between patients who received NOAC and those who took warfarin. NOAC included direct thrombin inhibitor and factor Xa inhibitors. Among 1,050 patients who were considered for DCCV, 424 patients anticoagulated with warfarin or NOAC underwent TEE prior to DCCV. Eighty patients who were anticoagulated for less than 21 days were excluded. Finally, 344 patients were included for the analysis (180 warfarin users vs. 164 NOAC users). No significant difference in the prevalence of SEC (44.4% vs. 43.9%; p = 0.919), dense SEC (13.9% vs. 15.2%; p = 0.722), or thrombus (2.2% vs. 4.3%; p = 0.281) was observed between the warfarin group and the NOAC group. In multivariate analysis, there was no association between NOAC and risk of SEC (odds ratio [OR]: 1.4, 95% CI: 0.796–2.297, p = 0.265) or thrombus (OR: 3.4, 95% CI: 0.726–16.039, p = 0.120). In conclusion, effectiveness of NOAC is comparable to warfarin in preventing SEC and thrombus in patients with AF or AFL undergoing DCCV. However, numerical increase in the prevalence of thrombus in NOAC group warrants further evaluation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)