As major prescribers of oral anticoagulants, cardiologists must be familiar with strategies to manage bleeding, the principal complication associated with all anticoagulants, and to reverse anticoagulant effects in acute-care settings. The purpose of this manuscript is to review currently available information regarding dabigatran and rivaroxaban, the 2 novel oral anticoagulants approved to date in the United States. Further, we suggest reasonable interventions for the clinician faced with a patient who suffers a major bleeding event while receiving one of these agents. Data sources were peer-reviewed publications, US Food and Drug Administration documents in the public domain, and approved US prescribing information for dabigatran (Pradaxa) and rivaroxaban (Xarelto). Strategies for management of bleeding and reversal of anticoagulant effects from warfarin include vitamin K, fresh frozen plasma, and prothrombin complex concentrates. For rivaroxaban and dabigatran, appropriate therapies include support and observation, which are likely to be effective for the majority of patients because of the short half-lives of these agents. In severe life-threatening hemorrhage, clotting-factor substitutes may be appropriate in certain situations. Validated protocols specific to each agent remain to be developed. Clin. Cardiol. 2012 doi: 10.1002/clc.22037

Editorial support for this paper was provided by Janssen Scientific Affairs, LLC. W.F.P. has received research grants (>$10 000) from Abbott, Alere, Baxter, Brahms, Novartis, and The Medicines Company. He has been a consultant (<$10 000) for Abbott, Alere, Eli Lilly, and The Medicines Company; served on the speaker's bureau (<$10 000) for Abbott and Alere; and has ownership interest (<$10 000) in Comprehensive Research Associates LLC, Vital Sensors, and Emergencies in Medicine LLC. M.M.G and R.M.M. are full-time employees of Janssen Scientific Affairs, LLC. The authors have no other funding, financial relationships, or conflicts of interest to disclose.