Reversing anticoagulation in the hemorrhaging patient.
Purpose of review: Anticoagulants in general, but especially the relatively new direct oral anticoagulants and platelet inhibitors, pose a great challenge for physicians in the hemorrhaging patient. The aim of the present review is to provide an overview on recent studies dealing with the reversal of anticoagulation in the hemorrhaging patient and to describe our therapeutic emergency strategy for those patients.
Recent findings: A specific antidote for dabigatran is already on the market and antidotes for the direct and indirect factor Xa inhibitors are in development. Moreover, bleeding under platelet inhibitors remains critical with very little evidence on effective reversal strategies.
Summary: To reverse anticoagulation in the hemorrhaging patient, specific antidotes should be the first option if available, followed by four-factor prothrombin complex concentrate (PCC), activated PCC and recombinant activated factor seven as the emergency strategy. Fibrinogen concentrate, antifibrinolytics and oral charcoal, respectively, can be considered as an additional measure. Massive blood loss and thrombocytopenia should be treated independently according to the respective, local guidelines for (massive) transfusion of blood and blood products.