Brazilian Journal of Anesthesiology
Brazilian Journal of Anesthesiology
Case Report

Uneventful epidural catheter removal in a patient with postoperative acute coronary syndrome receiving emergency triple antithrombotic therapy: a case report

Christina Orfanou, Ioannis Koutalas, Serena Valsami, Chryssoula Staikou

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Background and objectives
Neuraxial hematoma are a rare complication of the epidural technique which is commonly used for high quality postoperative pain relief. In case of urgent initiation of multiple antithrombotic therapy, the optimal timing of epidural catheter removal and need for treatment modification may be quite challenging. There are no specific guidelines and published reports are scarce.

Case report
We present the uneventful removal of an indwelling epidural catheter in a patient who was put on emergency triple antithrombotic treatment with Low Molecular Weight Heparin (LMWH), aspirin and clopidogrel in the immediate postoperative period, due to acute coronary syndrome. In order to define the optimal conditions and timing for catheter removal, so as to reduce the risk of complications, various laboratory tests were conducted 3-hours after aspirin/clopidogrel intake. Standard coagulation tests revealed normal platelet count, normal prothrombin time and normal activated partial thromboplastin time, while Platelet Function Analysis (PFA-200) revealed abnormal values (increased COL/EPI and COL/ADP values, both indicating inhibition of platelet function). The anti-Xa level, estimated 4-hours after LMWH administration, was within therapeutic range. At the same time, Rotational Thromboelastometry (ROTEM) showed a relatively satisfactory coagulation status overall. The epidural catheter was removed 26-hours after the last dual antiplatelet dose and the next dose was given 2-hours after removal. Enoxaparin was withheld for 24-hours and was resumed after 6-hours. Neurologic checks were performed regularly for alarming signs and symptoms suggesting development of an epidural hematoma. No complications occurred.

Point-of-care coagulation and platelet function monitoring may provide a helpful guidance in order to define the optimal timing for catheter removal, so as to reduce the risk of complications. A case-specific management plan based on a multidisciplinary approach is also important.


Epidural anesthesia;  Platelet aggregation inhibitors;  Anticoagulants;  Blood coagulation tests


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