The choice of oral anticoagulant (OAC) for patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) may be influenced by individual clinical features or by patterns of risk factors and comorbidities. We reviewed analyses of subgroups of patients from trials of vitamin K antagonists vs. non-vitamin K oral anticoagulants (NOACs) for stroke prevention in AF with the aim to identify patient groups who might benefit from a particular OAC more than from another. In addition, we discuss the timing of initiation of anticoagulation. In the second of a two-part review, we discuss the use of NOAC for stroke prevention in the following subgroups of patients with AF: (vii) secondary stroke prevention in patients after stroke or transient ischaemic attack (TIA), (viii) patients with acute stroke requiring thrombolysis or thrombectomy, (ix) those initiating or restarting OAC treatment after stroke or TIA, (x) those with renal impairment on dialysis, (xi) the elderly, (xii) those at high risk of gastrointestinal bleeding, and (xiii) those with hypertension. In addition, we discuss adherence and compliance. Finally, we present a summary of treatment suggestions. In specific subgroups of patients with AF, evidence supports the use of particular NOACs and/or particular doses of anticoagulant. The appropriate choice of treatment for these subgroups will help to promote optimal clinical outcomes.
Eur Heart J. 2016 Feb 4.