240. CardioNerds Rounds: Challenging Cases – Antithrombotic Management with Dr. Deepak Bhatt

It’s another session of CardioNerds Rounds! In these rounds, Dr. Priya Kothapalli (Interventional FIT at University of Texas at Auston, Dell Medical School) joins Dr. Deepak Bhatt (Dr. Valentin Fuster Professor of Medicine and Director of Mount Sinai Heart) to discuss the nuances of antithrombotic therapy. As one of the most prolific cardiovascular researchers, clinicians, and educators, CardioNerds is honored to have Dr. Bhatt on Rounds, especially given that Dr. Bhatt has led numerous breakthroughs in antithrombotic therapy. Come round with us today by listening to the episodes of #CardsRounds! Audio editing by CardioNerds Academy InternDr. Christian Faaborg-Andersen.

Enjoy this Circulation 2022 Paths to Discovery article to learn about the CardioNerds story, mission, and values.

This episode is supported with unrestricted funding from Zoll LifeVest. A special thank you to Mitzy Applegate and Ivan Chevere for their production skills that help make CardioNerds Rounds such an amazing success. All CardioNerds content is planned, produced, and reviewed solely by CardioNerds. Case details are altered to protect patient health information. CardioNerds Rounds is co-chaired by Dr. Karan Desai and Dr. Natalie Stokes

Speaker disclosures: None

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Show notes – Antithrombotic Management with Dr. Deepak Bhatt

Case #1 Synopsis:

A woman in her early 70s with a history of hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and paroxysmal atrial fibrillation presented with sudden-onset chest pressure and diaphoresis while at rest and was found to have an acute thrombotic 99% mid-LAD occlusion. The patient received OCT-guided PCI with a single drug-eluting stent. We discussed what the appropriate antithrombotic strategy would be for a patient with recent acute coronary syndrome and atrial fibrillation.

Case #1Takeaways

  1. According to the recent 2021 revascularization guidelines, in patients with atrial fibrillation undergoing PCI and taking oral anticoagulant therapy, it is recommended to discontinue aspirin after 1 to 4 weeks while maintaining P2Y12 inhibitors in addition to a non-vitamin K oral anticoagulant or warfarin.
  2. There are two recent trials – AUGUSTUS and the ENTRUST-AF PCI trial – that evaluated regimens of apixaban and edoxaban, respectively, that support earlier findings reporting lower bleeding rates in patients maintained on oral anticoagulant plus a P2Y12 inhibitor compared to triple therapy.
  3. Of note, none of these trials were specifically powered for ischemic endpoints, but when pooling data from these trials, rates of death, MI and stent thrombosis with dual therapy were similar to those seen in patients on triple therapy.
  4. Additionally, all of these patients enrolled in these trials were briefly treated with triple therapy after PCI before the aspirin was discontinued. In the 2021 guidelines, it is noted that analyses of stent thrombosis suggest that 80% of events occur within 30 days of PCI. Thus, it is reasonable to consider extending triply therapy to 1 month after PCI in high risk patients to reduce risk of stent thromboses.
  5. In AUGUSTUS, 90% of patients received clopidogrel as their P2Y12 inhibitor

Case #2 Synopsis:

A man in his mid-50s with a history of peripheral vascular disease with prior SFA stent for chronic limb ischemia, hyperlipidemia, tobacco use, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease presented with a two day history of “reflux” that was worse with exertion and that improved with rest and associated with diaphoresis. He was diagnosed with an NSTEMI. His LHC revealed 99% mid-RCA thrombotic occlusion with moderate disease in the LAD. He underwent thrombectomy and PCI with a single drug-eluting stent to the RCA. We discussed his short-term and long-term antithrombotic therapy

Case #2 Takeaways

  1. There were several things discussed regarding the management of this patient’s “poly-vascular disease.” One of the aspects was what to do with his antithrombotic therapy after one year and specifically how the COMPASS trial may apply to this patient.
  2. In the COMPASS trial, more than 27,000 patients with stable CAD or peripheral arterial disease (PAD) were randomly assigned to rivaroxaban plus aspirin, rivaroxaban alone, or aspirin alone with a mean follow-up of about 23 months. Of note, the dose of rivaroxaban in the combination arm was 2.5 mg orally twice per day. The patients on combination therapy compared to aspirin alone had a 23% relative risk reduction in CV mortality (1.7 vs. 2.2%; HR 0.78 [95% CI 0.64-0.96]) and nearly 50% reduction in ischemic stroke. As expected, there was high rates of major bleeding in the combination arm (3.1 vs. 1.9%; HR 1.7 [95% CI 1.4-2.05]).
  3. As with most decisions in medicine, each clinician would need to balance reducing ischemic events with bleeding risk for each individual patient. However, the COMPASS trial provides further evidence that low-dose oral anticoagulant with rivaroxaban in addition to aspirin can be effective in reducing ischemic events and CV mortality in patients with established atherosclerotic disease.

Case #3 Synopsis

A man in his early 60s with a history of hypertension and active tobacco use presented to a local hospital with anteroseptal STEMI c/b cardiac arrest with ventricular tachycardia. After multiple defibrillation attempts and CPR, the patient was able to achieve return of spontaneous circulation with intact mental status. The patient was pre-loaded with aspirin, ticagrelor, cangrelor and heparin and brought to the catheterization lab. There was diffuse moderate to severe stenoses in the RCA and a hazy distal LM lesion, but the culprit was a complete occlusion of the proximal LAD to which the patient received a single DES and another to the mid LAD. The patient was then brought to a tertiary care center where consideration was given for elective CABG given the residual disease. We discussed timing of CABG and when/if to pursue it, as well as antithrombotic management in this circumstance

Case #3 Takeaways

  1. Amongst the things we discussed was the role of cangrelor pre-left heart catheterization. Cangrelor is a potent, short-acting, and reversible intravenous P2Y12 inhibitor with rapid onset of platelet inhibition. And within 1 hour of discontinuation, platelet function can be restored.
  2. In the small CANTIC trial, patients undergoing primary PCI pre-treated with crushed 180-mg loading dose of ticagrelor were randomized to cangrelor versus placebo. Within five minutes, cangrelor led to significant P2y12 inhibition which persisted throughout the drug infusion. Of note, there were no drug interactions with ticagrelor given concomitantly with cangrelor at the start of PCI. Thus, in this trial, cangrelor proved to be an effective strategy in bridging latent platelet inhibition that can be seen with oral drugs.
  3. This trial was not powered for clinical outcomes, but serves as evidence that cangrelor can be considered for pre-treatment to bridge the gap in platelet inhibitor effects in select patients in whom oral absorption may be compromised or slowed.


  1. Eikelboom JW, Connolly SJ, Bosch J et al. Rivaroxaban with or without Aspirin in Stable Cardiovascular Disease. N Engl J Med. 2017 Oct 5;377(14):1319-1330.
  2. Franchi F, Rollini F, Rivas A et al. Platelet Inhibition With Cangrelor and Crushed Ticagrelor in Patients With ST-Segment-Elevation Myocardial Infarction Undergoing Primary Percutaneous Coronary Intervention. Circulation. 2019 Apr 2;139(14):1661-1670.
  3. Lopes RD, Heizer G, Aronson R, et al. Antithrombotic therapy after acute coronary syndrome or PCI in atrial fibrillation. N Engl J Med. 2019; 380:1509–1524.
  4. Writing Committee Members, Lawton JS, Tamis-Holland JE et al. 2021 ACC/AHA/SCAI Guideline for Coronary Artery Revascularization: Executive Summary: A Report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Joint Committee on Clinical Practice Guidelines. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2022 Jan 18;79(2):197-215

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