The timing of thromboembolic complications after electrical cardioversion of atrial flutter or fibrillation

M. Berger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Electrical cardioversion of atrial fibrillation or flutter is associated with a small but significant risk of thromboembolic complications. Although previous studies indicate that the vast majority of embolic episodes occur within 10 days of cardioversion, current guidelines recommend that anticoagulants be continued for 4 weeks. Since the timing of embolic events after cardioversion may influence the duration of anticoagulation, a systematic analysis of this interval would be clinically useful. Pooled data from 35 studies were reviewed to assess the temporal relationship between cardioversion and thromboembolic episodes. There were 97 patients (84 with atrial fibrillation and 13 with atrial flutter) who had an embolic event after cardioversion. The interval between cardioversion and thromboembolic events ranged from <1-18 days. Of the 97 episodes, 79 (81%) occurred within 3 days and 94 (97%) within 10 days. The authors conclude that thromboembolic episodes related to cardioversion are unusual beyond 10 days. These findings may have implications regarding the duration of anticoagulation after cardioversion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-584
Number of pages4
JournalCardiovascular Reviews and Reports
Volume22
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

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