Initial anticoagulation experience with standard-dose rivaroxaban after Watchman left atrial appendage occlusion

Zhi-Chun Gu, Zhi-Qing Qiao, Zi-Yong Hao, Zheng Li, Li-Sheng Jiang, Heng Ge, Ben He, Jun Pu


Background: Warfarin is now recommended as the standard anti-thrombotic regimen to allow complete endothelialization over the Watchman device post percutaneous left atrial appendage occlusion (LAAO). However, the need for frequent monitoring, narrow therapeutic range, dietary restrictions and multiple drug interactions associated with warfarin have contributed to increasing uptake of non-vitamin K oral anticoagulants (NOACs) worldwide. At present, the feasibility and safety of NOACs instead of warfarin post- LAAO is lacking.
Methods: Patients who underwent successful Watchman device implantation between October 1, 2016 and September 30, 2017 were enrolled in a retrospective database. And only patients who received rivaroxaban in the periprocedural period were included in this study. Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) follow- up was scheduled at 6 weeks, at 6 months, and at 12 months post-implantation to detect device-related thrombosis (DRT) or peri-device leak. Meanwhile, thromboembolic and bleeding events were also evaluated at the time of follow-up.
Results: Totally, 57 Watchman devices were successfully implanted and 10 patients who were allocated to rivaroxaban at the dosage of 20 mg once daily were included. During the follow-up, none of the patients using rivaroxaban experienced DRT, peri-device leak, thromboembolic complications and major bleeding events, except for 2 patients who suffered minor bleeding during the 6 weeks follow-up.
Conclusions: This study suggests that a short course of standard-dose rivaroxaban following Watchman LAAO is associated with low incidence of thrombotic complications and bleeding events, and might be a feasible alternative regimen in Chinese. Further randomized trials and large sample of real-world studies are needed to validate our finding.