Anticoagulation in chronic kidney disease: from guidelines to clinical practice

Viviana Aursulesei, Irina Iuliana Costache
Clinical Cardiology 2019, 42 (8): 774-782

BACKGROUND: Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a major global public health problem, being closely connected to cardiovascular disease. CKD involves an elevated thromboembolic risk and requires anticoagulation, but the high rates of hemorrhage render it quite challenging.

HYPOTHESIS: There are no consensus recommendations regarding anticoagulation in CKD. Due to the currently limited data, clinicians need practical clues for monitoring and optimizing the treatment.

METHODS: Based on the available data, this review outlines the benefit-risk ratio of all types of anticoagulants in each stage of CKD and provides practical recommendations for accurate dosage adjustment, reversal of antithrombotic effect, and monitoring of renal function on a regular basis.

RESULTS: Evidence from randomized controlled trials supports the efficient and safe use of warfarin and direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) in mild and moderate CKD. On the contrary, the data are poor and controversial for advanced stages. DOACs are preferred in CKD stages 1 to 3. In patients with stage 4 CKD, the choice of warfarin vs DOACs will take into consideration the pharmacokinetics of the drugs and patient characteristics. Warfarin remains the first-line treatment in end-stage renal disease, although in this case the decision to use or not to use anticoagulation is strictly individualized. Anticoagulation with heparins is safe in nondialysis-dependent CKD, but remains a challenge in the hemodialysis patients.

CONCLUSIONS: Although there is a need for cardiorenal consensus regarding anticoagulation in CKD, adequate selection of the anticoagulant type and careful monitoring are some extremely useful indications for overcoming management challenges.

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