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The practical management of intracerebral hemorrhage associated with oral anticoagulant therapy


  • Conflict of Interest: None declared.

Luca Masotti*, UO Medicina Interna Ospedale di Cecina, Via Montanara, Località Ladronaia, 57023, Cecina (Li), Italy.


Oral anticoagulant-associated intracerebral hemorrhage is increasing in incidence and is the most feared complication of therapy with vitamin K1 antagonists. Anticoagulant-associated intracerebral hemorrhage has a high risk of ongoing bleeding, death, or disability. The most important aspect of clinical management of anticoagulant-associated intracerebral hemorrhage is represented by urgent reversal of coagulopathy, decreasing as quickly as possible the international normalized ratio to values ≤1·4, preferably ≤1·2, together with life support and surgical therapy, when indicated. Protocols for anticoagulant-associated intracerebral hemorrhage emphasize the immediate discontinuation of anticoagulant medication and the immediate intravenous administration of vitamin K1 (mean dose: 10–20 mg), and the use of prothrombin complex concentrates (variable doses calculated estimate circulating functional prothrombin complex) or fresh-frozen plasma (15–30 ml/kg) or recombinant activated factor VII (15–120 μg/kg). Because of cost and availability, there is limited randomized evidence comparing different reversal strategies that support a specific treatment regimen. In this paper, we emphasize the growing importance of anticoagulant-associated intracerebral hemorrhage and describe options for acute coagulopathy reversal in this setting. Additionally, emphasis is placed on understanding current consensus-based guidelines for coagulopathy reversal and the challenges of determining best evidence for these treatments. On the basis of the available knowledge, inappropriate adherence to current consensus-based guidelines for coagulopathy reversal may expose the physician to medico-legal implications.

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