Is dual therapy the correct strategy in frail elderly patients with atrial fibrillation and acute coronary syndrome?

Alessio Menditto, Roberto Antonicelli

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a very common arrhythmia in clinical practice. Its incidence and prevalence are age-related and are growing in the last years. Age is a risk factor also for coronary artery disease (CAD), and with the evolution of preventive care, the first event (acute coronary syndrome (ACS) or percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI)) takes place at a later age. If elderly patients with AF and CAD undergo ACS or PCI, they have indication to assume triple therapy. Triple therapy (oral anticoagulation (OAC) plus dual antiplatelet therapy (DAPT)) exposes patients to high bleeding risk. In the last 10 years, several clinical trials have tested dual therapy (OAC plus single antiplatelet therapy) in AF patients who undergo ACS or elective PCI. WOEST trial has tested warfarin + clopidogrel against triple therapy. PIONEER AF-PCI trial has tested low-dose rivaroxaban + P2Y12 inhibitor or very low-dose rivaroxaban + DAPT against standard triple therapy with warfarin. RE-DUAL PCI trial has tested two doses of dabigatran + P2Y12 inhibitor against standard triple therapy with Warfarin. AUGUSTUS trial has tested apixaban against warfarin both in dual therapy with P2Y12 inhibitor and in triple therapy with a P2Y12 inhibitor and aspirin. ENTRUST-AF PCI, last published study, has tested edoxaban + P2Y12 inhibitor against triple therapy. All these trials show dual therapy reduces significantly bleeding risk than triple therapy. In this paper, we analyze these clinical trials to understand if dual therapy results can be applied to elderly patients and what is probably the better approach in elderly AF patients undergo to ACS or PCI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-57
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Geriatric Cardiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Acute coronary syndrome
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Dual therapy
  • Oral anticoagulation
  • The elderly

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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