Atrial fibrillation in severe and end stage renal disease: from oral anticoagulation therapy to percutaneous left atrial appendage occlusion


Non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most frequent arrhythmia in the general population and its prevalence increases with age. The prevalence and incidence of AF is high in patients with chronic kidney failure (CKD). The most important complication associated with AF, both in the general population and in that with CKD, is thromboembolic stroke. For this reason, in patients with AF, the Guidelines indicate oral anticoagulant therapy (OAT) with vitamin K antagonists (VKAs) or direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) for thromboembolic risk prevention. Patients with severe CKD and, in particular, with end stage renal disease (ESRD) undergoing renal replacement therapy, often have both a high thromboembolic and hemorrhagic risk and therefore present both an indication and a contraindication to OAT. In addition, patients with severe or ESRD were excluded from trials that showed the efficacy of different antithrombotic drugs in patients with AF. Thus there is no evidence of the effectiveness of OAT in this population. This review deals with the issues related to OAT in patients with severe or end stage CKD and the possible use of percutaneous closure of the left auricula (LAAO), recently proposed as an alternative in patients with an absolute contraindication of OAT in this population.

Key words

Atrial fibrillation; oral anticoagulant therapy; bleeding; severe chronic kidney disease; end stage renal disease; left atrial appendage occlusion.

Sorry, this entry is only available in Italian.

Lista delle abbreviazioni

AF Atrial Fibrillation

C-G Cockroft-Gault

CKD Chronic Kidney Disease 

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