Periprocedural management of anticoagulation in patients on extended warfarin therapy

Syed M Jafri, Trupti P Mehta
Seminars in Thrombosis and Hemostasis 2004, 30 (6): 657-64
Patients receiving chronic anticoagulation therapy pose a clinical challenge when therapy needs to be interrupted for surgical or invasive procedures. Maintaining anticoagulation places them at risk of serious bleeding complications, whereas discontinuing anticoagulation puts them at risk of thromboembolic complications. The main patient groups that may require a periprocedural alternative to oral anticoagulation include patients with prosthetic heart valves, atrial fibrillation, and hypercoagulable states and those with chronic venous thrombosis undergoing surgery. Currently, there is little consensus on appropriate perioperative management of patients on long-term warfarin therapy. This article is an attempt to bring together all the available data on periprocedural bridging to assess the available options for patients undergoing surgical procedures and to provide a rationale for using low-molecular-weight heparins (LMWHs) while individualizing the risks versus benefits in a given patient population.

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