Direct Oral Anticoagulants in Cardioversion: A Review of Current Evidence

Caitlin M. Gibson, Amanda N. Basto, Meredith L. Howard

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Objective: Direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) are recommended for the prevention of stroke or systemic embolism in nonvalvular atrial fibrillation. Dabigatran, rivaroxaban, apixaban, and edoxaban represent possible alternatives to warfarin in the setting of cardioversion. A literature review was conducted to evaluate the safety and efficacy of DOAC use pericardioversion. Data Sources: A PubMed and MEDLINE search through August 2017 was conducted using the following search terms alone or in various combinations: dabigatran, rivaroxaban, apixaban, edoxaban, betrixaban, DOAC, NOAC, TSOAC, cardioversion. Study Selection and Data Extraction: All English-language, human studies comparing the safety and efficacy of DOACs with that of other anticoagulants in the setting of cardioversion were eligible for inclusion. References from published articles were reviewed for additional relevant citations for study inclusion. Four retrospective and 2 prospective trials comparing DOACs with warfarin were identified. Data Synthesis: The majority of studies included patients undergoing electric cardioversion. Based on current evidence, the DOACs perform similarly to warfarin in the prevention of stroke and systemic embolism, and bleeding rates are comparable. Conclusions: DOACs may be an attractive alternative to warfarin because of fast onset of action, potentially reducing delay to cardioversion. More robust studies are needed in patients with renal dysfunction and patients undergoing pharmacological cardioversion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-284
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Pharmacotherapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2018


  • anticoagulation
  • apixaban
  • atrial fibrillation
  • cardioversion
  • dabigatran
  • direct oral anticoagulants
  • edoxaban
  • rivaroxaban
  • warfarin


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