Clinical protocols for oral anticoagulant reversal during high risk of bleeding for emergency surgical and nonsurgical settings: a narrative review
Background and objectives
Oral anticoagulants prevent thromboembolic events but expose patients to a significant risk of bleeding due to the treatment itself, after trauma or during surgery. Any physician working in the emergency department or involved in the perioperative care of a patient should be aware of the best reversal approach according to the type of drug and the patient’s clinical condition. This paper presents a concise review and proposes clinical protocols for the reversal of oral anticoagulants in emergency settings, such as bleeding or surgery.
The authors searched for relevant studies in PubMed, LILACS, and the Cochrane Library database and identified 82 articles published up to September 2020 to generate a review and algorithms as clinical protocols for practical use. Hemodynamic status and the implementation of general supportive measures should be the first approach under emergency conditions. The drug type, dose, time of last intake, and laboratory evaluations of anticoagulant activity and renal function provide an estimation of drug clearance and should be taken into consideration. The reversal agents for vitamin K antagonists are 4-factor prothrombin complex concentrate and vitamin K, followed by fresh frozen plasma as a second-line treatment. Direct oral anticoagulants have specific reversal agents, such as andexanet alfa and idarucizumab, but are not widely available. Another possibility in this situation, but with less evidence, is prothrombin complex concentrates.
The present algorithms propose a tool to help health care providers in the best decision making for patients under emergency conditions.