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Keywords:

  • coumadin;
  • hemorrhage;
  • vitamin K antagonists;
  • warfarin

Summary.  Vitamin K antagonists are effective in the prevention and treatment of a variety of arterial and venous thrombotic disorders, but are associated with an increased risk of serious bleeding complications. According to well documented studies of patients using vitamin K antagonists, the incidence of major bleeding is 0.5% per year and the incidence of intracranial bleeding is 0.2% per year, however, in real life practice this incidence may be even higher. Risk factors for bleeding are the intensity of anticoagulation, the management strategy to keep the INR in the desired range, and patient characteristics. In case of serious bleeding complications in a patient who uses vitamin K antagonists, this anticoagulant treatment can be quickly reversed by administration of vitamin K or coagulation factor concentrates.