Altered fibrin clot properties and fibrinolysis in patients with atrial fibrillation: practical implications.Europace 2019E
Compelling evidence indicates that a hypercoagulable state occurs in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) including those in sinus rhythm following paroxysmal and persistent AF. Activation of blood coagulation in AF reflects heightened thrombin generation with the subsequent increased formation of fibrin as evidenced by elevated soluble fibrin monomers and D-dimer. Formation of denser fibrin meshworks, relatively resistant to plasmin-mediated lysis has been demonstrated in patients with AF. The presence of stroke risk factors in AF, such as diabetes, heart failure, hypertension, previous myocardial infarction, or stroke, advanced age have been shown to be linked to the prothrombotic clot characteristics, including reduced clot permeability and lysability. Importantly, biomarkers, including cardiac troponins and N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide, are associated with thrombin generation and fibrin-related markers in AF patients. Recently, increased fibrin clot density (low clot permeability measured in plasma-based assays) and impaired fibrinolysis measured off anticoagulation have been demonstrated to predict ischaemic cerebrovascular events in patients with AF receiving vitamin K antagonists and those on rivaroxaban. The current review summarizes evidence for a role of altered fibrin clot properties and hypofibrinolysis in AF and their prognostic value in terms of adverse events.