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New oral anticoagulants and regional anaesthesia.

The new oral anticoagulants are approved for a variety of clinical syndromes, including the prevention of stroke in atrial fibrillation, acute coronary syndromes, treatment of venous thromboembolism (VTE), and prevention of venous thrombosis after total joint surgery or hip fracture. Published guidelines have differing recommendations on the safe interval between discontinuation of the anticoagulant and performance of neuraxial procedures and between the interventional procedure and redosing of the drug. While two to three half-life intervals might be acceptable in patients who are at high risk for VTE or stroke, an interval of four to six half-lives between discontinuation of the drug and neuraxial injections is probably safer in most patients at low risk of thrombosis. In those with renal disease, the interval should be based on creatinine clearance. After a neuraxial procedure or removal of an epidural catheter, anticoagulants can be resumed within 24-48 h in most patients, but they can be taken sooner in patients who are at higher risk for VTE or stroke, that is, 24 h minus the time to peak effect of the drug. The new antiplatelet drugs prasugrel and ticagrelor should be stopped 7 or 5 days, respectively, before a neuraxial injection and can be restarted 24 h later. In selected situations, laboratory monitoring of the anticoagulant effect is appropriate, and reversal agents are suggested when there is a need to rapidly restore haemostatic function.

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