JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

The clinical use of prothrombin complex concentrate

Jason Ferreira, Marci DeLosSantos
Journal of Emergency Medicine 2013, 44 (6): 1201-10
23602147

BACKGROUND: Prothrombin complex concentrate (PCC) is an inactivated concentrate of factors II, IX, and X, with variable amounts of factor VII. Guidelines recommend the use of PCC in the setting of life-threatening bleeds, but little is known on the most effective dosing strategies and how the presenting international normalized ratio affects response to therapy.

OBJECTIVES: This review aims to highlight available data on monitoring techniques, address shortcomings of currently available data, the reversal of life-threatening and critical bleeds with PCC, and how this product compares to other therapeutic options used in critically ill patients.

DISCUSSION: PCC has been identified as a potential therapy for critically bleeding patients, but patient-specific factors, product availability, and current data should weigh the decision to use it. Most data exist regarding patients experiencing vitamin K antagonist-induced bleeding, more specifically, those with intracranial hemorrhage. PCC has also been studied in trauma-induced hemorrhage; however, it remains controversial, as its potential benefits have the abilities to become flaws in this setting.

CONCLUSION: Health care professionals must remain aware of the differences in products and interpret how three- versus four-factor products may affect patients, and interpret literature accordingly. The clinician must be cognizant of how to progress when treating a bleeding patient, propose a supported dosing scheme, and address the need for appropriate factor VII supplementation. At this point, PCC cannot be recommended for first-line therapy in patients with traumatic hemorrhage, and should be reserved for refractory bleeding until more data are available.

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