Hospitalization for vitamin-K-antagonist-related bleeding: treatment patterns and outcome


Correspondence: Kai Halbritter, Dresden University Hospital ‘Carl Gustav Carus’, Center for Vascular Diseases and Medical Clinic III; Fetscherstraße 74, Dresden 01307, Germany.

Tel.: +49 351 4582236; fax: +49 351 4585809.




Bleeding complications are common side effects of vitamin-K antagonist (VKA) therapy. Data on the in-hospital management and outcomes of these bleeding events are scarce and information is mostly derived from trial cohorts.


The objective was to collect data on the management and clinical outcome of hospitalizations owing to VKA-related bleeding in real-world practice.

Patients and methods

We performed a multicenter observational cohort study involving 21 secondary and tertiary care hospitals in the administrative district Dresden, Saxony, Germany throughout the year 2005. All consenting patients presenting with VKA-related bleeding complications were included. No exclusion criteria applied. Data were collected at admission, at discharge and at 90 days to evaluate resource consumption, length of hospital stay and risk factors for in-hospital- and 3-month mortality.


Two hundred and ninety patients were included (median age 74 years; 50.7% male). The main indications for VKA therapy were atrial fibrillation (63.4%), prior thromboembolism (18.6%) and mechanical heart valves (11.4%), and most common bleeding localizations were large hematoma (23.1%), upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract (17.9%) and intracranial bleeding (14.1%). On hospital admission, the median International Normalized Ratio (INR) was 3.0 (range 0.9–12.5, interquartile range [IQR] 2.1–3.9). In-hospital mortality was 7.6% with impaired renal function as the most relevant risk factor. At 90 days mortality was 14.1% and 15.3% of survivors were help-dependent.


VKA-related bleeding leading to hospitalization is associated with long hospitalization, relevant resource utilization, high mortality or persistent sequlae. Patient-related factors such as impaired renal function, chronic cardiac or pulmonary disease and dementia are predictive of in-hospital and 3-month mortality.