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Keywords:

  • anticoagulation reversal;
  • bleeding;
  • prothrombin complex concentrate;
  • warfarin

Summary. Background: When life-threatening bleeding occurs in patients on warfarin, timely reversal becomes imperative. In the USA, warfarin effect is commonly reversed with fresh frozen plasma (FFP). The use of FFP is complicated by delays in correction, volume overload and often, inadequate correction. Objective: Evaluate the feasibility and efficacy of a protocol for rapid administration of prothrombin complex concentrate (PCC) in the setting of the urgent need for reversal of warfarin. Methods/patients: We instituted a policy for rapid delivery and administration of PCC. Appropriate patients received 25–50 U kg−1 of PCC. The prothrombin time (PT)/International Normalized Ratios (INR) was recorded before and immediately after dosing, and 24 h postdosing. Patients requiring surgical interventions were cleared for the operating room (OR) immediately. Fifty-eight patients were treated, with a median age of 75.5 years (range 26–92). Results: The median INR on presentation was 3.8 (1.4–52.8). Immediately following PCC administration the median INR was 1.3 (0.9–5.7), only two patients with INRs exceeding 2.0. The benefit was maintained at 24 h with a median INR of 1.5 (1.1–3.4). Four patients experienced thrombotic events during their hospitalization, (two deep vein thrombosis, two non-q-wave myocardial infarction) although none was attributed to PPC therapy. Conclusions: PCC administration is an effective treatment modality for the correction of warfarin anticoagulation in the urgent setting. Advantages over FFP include more timely correction, absence of volume overload and potentially more complete correction. Broader use of PCC in this setting appears to be appropriate.