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Emergency Cardiac Surgery in Patients on Oral Anticoagulants and Antiplatelet Medications
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  • Rami Akhrass,
  • A. Marc Gillinov,
  • Faisal Bakaeen,
  • Deena Akras,
  • Scott Cameron,
  • Jay Bishop,
  • Samir Kapadia,
  • Lars Svensson
Rami Akhrass
Cleveland Clinic
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A. Marc Gillinov
Cleveland Clinic
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Faisal Bakaeen
Cleveland Clinic
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Deena Akras
Cleveland Clinic
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Scott Cameron
Cleveland Clinic
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Jay Bishop
Cleveland Clinic
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Samir Kapadia
Cleveland Clinic
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Lars Svensson
Cleveland Clinic Main Campus Hospital
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Abstract

Emergency surgery, blood transfusion, and reoperation for bleeding have been associated with increased operative morbidity and mortality. The recent increased use of direct oral anticoagulants and antiplatelet medications have made the above more challenging. In addition, cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) with its associated hemodilution, fibrinolysis and platelet consumption may exacerbate the pre-existing coagulopathy and increase the risk of bleeding. Management decisions are typically made on a case-by-case basis. Surgery is delayed when possible and less invasive percutaneous options should be considered if feasible. Attention is paid to exercising meticulous techniques, avoiding excessive hypothermia and treating coexisting issues such as sepsis. Ensuring a dry operative field upon entry by correcting the coagulopathy with reversal agents is offset by the concern of potentially hindering efforts to anticoagulate the patient (heparin resistance) in preparation for CPB, in addition to possibly increasing the risk of thromboembolism. Proper knowledge of the anticoagulants, their reversal agents, and the usefulness of laboratory testing are all essential. Platelet transfusion remains mainstay for antiplatelet medications. Four-factor prothrombin complex concentrate is considered in patients on oral anticoagulants if CPB needs to be instituted quickly. Specific reversal agents such as idarucizumab and andexanet alfa can be considered if significant tissue dissection is anticipated such as redo sternotomy, but are costly and may lead to heparin resistance and anticoagulant rebound.

Peer review status:UNDER REVIEW

11 May 2021Submitted to Journal of Cardiac Surgery
12 May 2021Assigned to Editor
12 May 2021Submission Checks Completed
23 May 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned