Management of major bleeding complications and emergency surgery in patients on long-term treatment with direct oral anticoagulants, thrombin or factor-Xa inhibitors: proposals of the working group on perioperative haemostasis (GIHP) - March 2013

Gilles Pernod, Pierre Albaladejo, Anne Godier, Charles M Samama, Sophie Susen, Yves Gruel, Normand Blais, Pierre Fontana, Ariel Cohen, Juan V Llau, Nadia Rosencher, Jean-François Schved, Emmanuel de Maistre, Meyer M Samama, Patrick Mismetti, Pierre Sié
Archives of Cardiovascular Diseases 2013, 106 (6-7): 382-93
Direct new oral anticoagulants (NOACs) - inhibitors of thrombin or factor Xa - are intended to be used largely in the treatment of venous thromboembolic disease or the prevention of systematic embolism in atrial fibrillation, instead of vitamin K antagonists. Like any anticoagulant treatment, they are associated with spontaneous or provoked haemorrhagic risk. Furthermore, a significant proportion of treated patients are likely to be exposed to emergency surgery or invasive procedures. Given the absence of a specific antidote, the action to be taken in these situations must be defined. The lack of data means that it is only possible to issue proposals rather than recommendations, which will evolve according to accumulated experience. The proposals presented here apply to dabigatran (Pradaxa(®)) and rivaroxaban (Xarelto(®)); data for apixaban and edoxaban are still scarce. For urgent surgery with haemorrhagic risk, the drug plasma concentration should be less or equal to 30ng/mL for dabigatran and rivaroxaban should enable surgery associated with a high bleeding risk. Beyond that, if possible, the intervention should be postponed by monitoring the drug concentration. The course to follow is then defined according to the NOAC and its concentration. If the anticoagulant dosage is not immediately available, worse propositions, based on the usual tests (prothrombin time and activated partial thromboplastin time), are presented. However, these tests do not really assess drug concentration or the risk of bleeding that depends on it. In case of serious bleeding in a critical organ, the effect of anticoagulant therapy should be reduced using a non-specific procoagulant drug as a first-line approach: activated prothrombin complex concentrate (aPCC) (FEIBA(®) 30-50U/kg) or non-activated PCC (50U/kg). In addition, for any other type of severe haemorrhage, the administration of a procoagulant drug, which is potentially thrombogenic in these patients, is discussed according to the NOAC concentration and the possibilities of mechanical haemostasis.

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