Discontinuation and management of direct-acting anticoagulants for emergency procedures.
Patients taking direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) who then need an emergency invasive procedure require specialized management strategies. Appropriate patient evaluation includes assessment of the current anticoagulation state, including timing of the last dose. DOACs require particular coagulation assays to measure anticoagulation levels accurately, although standard coagulation screening tests may provide qualitative guidance. Specialty societies have endorsed general recommendations for patient management to promote hemostasis in anticoagulated patients requiring surgery or other invasive procedures. These include general stopping rules (such as ≥24 hours for low-risk procedures and ≥48 hours for high-risk surgery with normal renal function) for elective procedures. Bridging therapy when oral anticoagulant treatment is interrupted has recently been questioned, depending on the clinical scenario. Novel agents for the reversal of DOAC-induced anticoagulation have recently been developed. Idarucizumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody fragment that selectively binds dabigatran, was recently approved for clinical use in patients with life-threatening or uncontrolled bleeding, and for patients requiring emergency interventions. Idarucizumab can streamline the pre- and periprocedural anticoagulation management of dabigatran-treated patients, as it provides fast, complete, and sustainable reversibility. Andexanet alfa is an inactive, decoy factor Xa (FXa) molecule that binds FXa inhibitors, and ciraparantag is a synthetic molecule designed to bind fractionated and unfractionated heparins, and each of the currently approved DOACs. As clinical development of the additional anti-FXa-specific anticoagulant reversal agents proceeds, the respective role of each in the management of emergency bleeding events and invasive procedures will be better defined, and it is hoped they will make important contributions to patient care.
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