JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Bridging Anticoagulation: Primum Non Nocere

Stephen J Rechenmacher, James C Fang
Journal of the American College of Cardiology 2015 September 22, 66 (12): 1392-403
26383727
Chronic oral anticoagulation frequently requires interruption for various reasons and durations. Whether or not to bridge with heparin or other anticoagulants is a common clinical dilemma. The evidence to inform decision making is limited, making current guidelines equivocal and imprecise. Moreover, indications for anticoagulation interruption may be unclear. New observational studies and a recent large randomized trial have noted significant perioperative or periprocedural bleeding rates without reduction in thromboembolism when bridging is employed. Such bleeding may also increase morbidity and mortality. In light of these findings, physician preferences for routine bridging anticoagulation during chronic anticoagulation interruptions may be too aggressive. More randomized trials, such as PERIOP2 (A Double Blind Randomized Control Trial of Post-Operative Low Molecular Weight Heparin Bridging Therapy Versus Placebo Bridging Therapy for Patients Who Are at High Risk for Arterial Thromboembolism), will help guide periprocedural management of anticoagulation for indications such as venous thromboembolism and mechanical heart valves. In the meantime, physicians should carefully consider both the need for oral anticoagulation interruption and the practice of routine bridging when anticoagulation interruption is indicated.

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