In modern cardiology, anticoagulation and antiaggregation are key components of current treatment strategies. However, in patients treated with anticoagulation and antiplatelet substances, bleeding is a major risk.
In all major cardiovascular diseases, a multitude of studies have shown a positive impact of antithrombotic treatment on cardiovascular death. In patients with higher bleeding risks, recent studies showed the safety of reducing the period of dual antiplatelet therapy (DAPT), i.e., after percutaneous coronary intervention. In patients with coronary artery disease and atrial fibrillation (AF), triple therapy including DAPT and anticoagulation is associated with very high bleeding risks. However, recently published data showed the safety of direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) and P2Y12 inhibitors only compared to vitamin K antagonist (VKA) and DAPT. Anticoagulation in nonvalvular AF reduces major cerebrovascular ischemic events. However, the inherent cerebrovascular bleeding risk is an important concern of this treatment. With the advent of DOACs, this risk could be reduced compared to VKA. Furthermore, anticoagulation and antiaggregation are crucial after treatment of valve disease, both after surgical and interventional procedures. Even in heart failure, new data show benefits using antithrombotic substances.
Anticoagulation and antiaggregation are of major prognostic relevance in cardiovascular diseases. However, the inherent bleeding risk has to be considered.
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