Direct oral anticoagulants (DOAC) are mostly prescribed to prevent cardioembolic stroke in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF). An increasing number of guidelines recommend DOAC in AF patients with preserved renal function for the prevention of thromboembolism, and an increased use of DOAC in daily practice has been recorded also in elderly patients. Ageing is associated with a reduction in glomerular filtration rate, and impaired renal function, regardless of the cause, increases the risk of bleeding. Multiple medication use (polypharmacy) for treating superimposed co-morbidities is common in both elderly and chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients and drug-drug interaction may cause accumulation of DOAC, thereby increasing the risk of bleeding. The safety profile of DOAC in patients with CKD has not been defined with any certainty, particularly in those with severely impaired renal function or end stage renal disease. This has been due to the heterogeneity of studies and the relative paucity of data. This document reports the position of three Italian scientific societies engaged in the management of patients with atrial fibrillation who are treated with DOAC and present with CKD.
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