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Management of direct oral anticoagulants-associated bleeding in the trauma patient

von Heymann, Christian; Rosenthal, Christoph; Kaufner, Lutz; Sander, Michael

Current Opinion in Anesthesiology: April 2016 - Volume 29 - Issue 2 - p 220–228
doi: 10.1097/ACO.0000000000000294
TRAUMA AND TRANSFUSION: Edited by Kai Zacharowski

Purpose of review This article emphasizes the differentiated management of direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs)-associated bleeding in trauma patients to generate a severity adjusted treatment protocol.

Recent findings The management of DOAC-associated bleeding should take severity, mortality risk, and haemodynamic effects of the trauma-induced bleeding into account.

Summary The different pharmacological properties of DOACs are important for the management of trauma-induced bleeding. Comorbidities like renal impairment and liver dysfunction prolong their half-life. Patients with minor bleeding in stable clinical condition can be managed by a ‘wait and see’ approach. Moderate bleeding is suggested to be managed by a primarily conservative approach. In life-threatening bleeding, the administration of activated or nonactivated factor concentrates seems justified, together with supportive measures as part of an advanced management protocol. The administration of specific antidotes may be an alternative in the future. A monoclonal antibody to dabigatran (idarucizumab) has recently been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, whereas antidotes to Factor X activated inhibitors (andexanet and aripazine) are still under development. Sufficiently powered studies with clinical and safety outcome measures are still missing for all specific antidotes at this time.

aDepartment of Anaesthesia, Intensive Care Medicine, Emergency Medicine and Pain Therapy, Vivantes Klinikum im Friedrichshain

bDepartment of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, Charité-University Medicine Berlin, Campus Virchow-Klinikum, Berlin

cDepartment of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, University Hospital of Giessen and Marburg, Giessen, Germany

Correspondence to Christian von Heymann, MD, PhD, DEAA, Department of Anaesthesia, Intensive Care Medicine, Emergency Medicine and Pain Therapy, Vivantes Klinikum im Friedrichshain Landsberger Allee 49, 10249 Berlin, Germany. Tel: +49 30 130231570; fax: +49 30 130232037. e-mail:

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