BACKGROUND AND AIMS: There is contrasting evidence regarding the optimal antithrombotic regimen after percutaneous coronary stent implantation in patients on oral anticoagulants. A systematic review and meta-analysis was performed to explore the comparative efficacy and safety of dual (an antiplatelet plus an oral anticoagulant) versus triple therapy (dual antiplatelet therapy plus an oral anticoagulant).
METHODS: We searched the literature for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) or observational studies (OSs) addressing this issue. The efficacy outcomes were all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality, myocardial infarction and stent thrombosis. The safety outcomes were major bleeding events and all bleeding events. The analyses were stratified by type of anticoagulant and of antiplatelet used in dual therapy.
RESULTS: Four RCTs and ten OSs met our inclusion criteria including a total of 10,126 patients. 5671 patients received triple therapy whereas 4455 received dual therapy. Median follow up was 12 months. There was no difference between dual therapy and triple therapy regarding efficacy outcomes. Dual therapy significantly reduced the risk of major bleeding (RR 0.66; CI 95% 0.52-0.83; P = 0.0005) and of all bleeding events (RR 0.67, CI 95% 0.55-0.80; P < 0.0001). The effect was consistent regardless of the type of antiplatelet and anticoagulant used in dual therapy.
CONCLUSION: Dual antithrombotic therapy after coronary stenting in anticoagulated patients significantly reduces bleeding events compared with triple therapy. Dual therapy might be considered in this setting especially when bleeding risk outweighs ischemic risk, although our study was not sufficiently powered to detect a difference in ischemic endpoints.