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Dabigatran for prophylaxis of thromboembolic events in patients with atrial fibrillation

Authors Ehrlich JR, Hammwöhner M, Götte A

Received 18 November 2011

Accepted for publication 13 December 2011

Published 18 January 2012 Volume 2012:3 Pages 11—21


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Joachim R Ehrlich1, Matthias Hammwöhner3, Andreas Goette2,3
1Deutsche Klinik für Diagnostik, Department of Cardiology, Wiesbaden, 2Working Group, Molecular Electrophysiology, University Hospital Magdeburg, 3Department of Cardiology and Intensive Care Medicine, St Vincenz-Hospital Paderborn, Germany

Abstract: Atrial fibrillation is the most common clinically relevant cardiac arrhythmia. Prevalence and incidence rates are constantly rising with advancing population age. A severe complication of untreated atrial fibrillation is thrombus formation in the left atrial appendage with consecutive peripheral thromboembolism. Thus, atrial fibrillation is a major contributor to thromboembolic events, especially in the older population. Depending on the CHADS2 risk score for thromboembolic events, oral anticoagulation therapy with vitamin K antagonists is currently the treatment of choice for the prevention of thromboembolism, including apoplectic strokes. However, due to the drawbacks of current anticoagulation therapy, new substances for oral anticoagulation therapy are currently being evaluated in various clinical studies. This article will provide an up to date overview of orally active compounds for the future treatment of atrial fibrillation using the direct thrombin inhibitor, dabigatran.

Keywords: atrial fibrillation, anticoagulation, pathophysiology, pharmacology, stroke

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