Dabigatran is a novel oral anticoagulant and may be useful during atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation for prevention of thromboembolic events. However, the benefits and adverse effects of periprocedural dabigatran therapy have not been thoroughly evaluated. A meta-analysis was performed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of dabigatran for anticoagulation in AF ablation. PubMed, The Cochrane Library, EMBASE, Web of Science, and CINAHL databases were searched from January 01, 2001 through July 30, 2013. Two reviewers reviewed the studies for inclusion and extracted data from studies comparing dabigatran with warfarin for AF ablation. A total of 5,513 patients undergoing catheter ablation were included in 17 observational studies and 1 randomized trial. Fourteen events of stroke or transient ischemic attacks were reported in the dabigatran group and 4 in the warfarin group (Peto's odds ratio 3.94, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.54 to 10.08, number needed to harm = 284 patients). The risk of all thromboembolic complications was also higher in the dabigatran group compared with the warfarin group (Peto's odds ratio 2.81, 95% CI 1.23 to 6.45). No major differences were observed for the risk of major bleeding (odds ratio 0.99, 95% CI 0.55 to 1.78), pericardial tamponade, and groin hematoma. A lower risk of minor bleeding was observed with dabigatran (odds ratio 0.60, 95% CI 0.41 to 0.87). In conclusion, periprocedural use of dabigatran for AF ablation was related to a higher risk of thromboembolic complications including stroke and transient ischemic attack.
American Journal of Cardiology, 2014, Vol 113, Issue 7, p. 1173-7