Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a major risk factor for stroke. We aim to characterize AF patients and the effects of apixaban therapy in terms of clot microstructure using gel point analysis, a novel biomarker. Seventy-eight patients were included in the study, 50 Stroke with AF (AF-S), and 28 AF without stroke (AF). Pre- and post-anticoagulation samples were collected: gel point (GP) analysis was performed to obtain (i) TGP (the time taken to reach the GP or the clot formation time) and (ii) d the fractal dimension of the clot, a quantification of clot fibrin microstructure at the GP. At baseline, the AF-S group had a d  = 1.70 (±0.05) and TGP = 306 (±73 s). The AF group had a df = 1.70 ± 0.05 and TGP = 346 ± 78 s, showing a significantly shortened TGP in the stroke group (p = .008). For both groups, apixaban significantly prolonged TGP, p = .005, but resulted in no change in df. Apixaban prolonged clotting time while having no significant impact on the blood’s ability to form stable clots (no change in d ). This indicates that apixaban provides protection from the formation of thrombi by reducing clotting kinetics.
© 2022 The Authors. Pharmacology Research & Perspectives published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd, British Pharmacological Society and American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.