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Online ISSN 1827-1596
Whalley D. 1, Skappak C. 1, Lang E. S. 2
1 Department of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada;
2 Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
The new factor Xa inhibitors and direct thrombin inhibitors have offered alternatives to traditional anticoagulants, with benefits of no routine monitoring, less drug interactions, and oral administration. Current approved uses of these agents include prophylaxis of stroke in non-valvular atrial fibrillation and prevention of venous thromboembolism (VTE) following hip and knee arthroplasty. However, concern over bleeding risk in the context of having no specific antidotes available is a topic of focus for many physicians in an acute care setting. This manuscript examines the recent literature in the management of acute bleeding and the various methods of reversing anticoagulation in this setting. Literature published over the last 18 months (2011/07/01-present) was gathered from PubMed, Ovid, and Medline under a combined search strategy covering bleeding, reversal, and new oral anticoagulants, both factor Xa and direct thrombin inhibitors. The use of prothrombin complex concentrate, fresh frozen plasma, activated recombinant factor VII, activated prothrombin complex concentrate, as well as adjuncts of charcoal, hemodialysis, and antifibrinolytics are discussed. Recommendations are based on the determination of the severity of the bleed and physiological markers of anticoagulation, and involve the use of prothrombin complex concentrate, activated recombinant factor VII, and adjunctive therapy as appropriate.