Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is an independent risk factor for presenting atrial fibrillation (AF), which conditions an increased risk already present in CKD of suffering a thromboembolic event. And this risk is even higher in the hemodialysis (HD) population. On the other hand, in CKD patients and even more so in HD patients, the probability of suffering serious bleeding is also higher. Therefore, there is no consensus on whether or not to anticoagulate this population. Taking as a model what is advised for the general population, the most common attitude among nephrologists has been to opt for anticoagulation, even though there is no randomized studies to support it. Classically, anticoagulation has been done with vitamin K antagonists, at high cost for our patients: severe bleeding events, vascular calcification, and progression of nephropathy, among other complications. With the emergence of direct-acting anticoagulants, a hopeful outlook was opened in the field of anticoagulation, as they were postulated as more effective and safer drugs than antivitamin K. However, in clinical practice, this has not been the case. In this paper we review various aspects of AF and its anticoagulant treatment in the HD population.
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