Intracerebral Hemorrhage Associated With Oral Anticoagulant Therapy
Current Practices and Unresolved Questions
This article requires a subscription to view the full text. If you have a subscription you may use the login form below to view the article. Access to this article can also be purchased.
Background and Purpose— Life-threatening intracranial hemorrhage, predominantly intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), is the most serious complication of oral anticoagulant therapy (OAT), with mortality in excess of 50%. Early intervention focuses on rapid correction of coagulopathy in order to prevent continued bleeding.
Summary of Review— This article reviews the epidemiology of OAT-associated ICH (OAT-ICH), and current treatment options, with the aim of providing a framework for future studies of unresolved questions. A number of acute treatments are available, but all have a significant risk of inducing thrombosis and other side effects, and vary in their rapidity of effect: vitamin K (very slow response time), fresh frozen plasma (slow response time, large volume of fluid required, transfusion-related acute lung injury), prothrombin complex concentrates, and recombinant activated factor VII. Current practice is to administer a combination of vitamin K and either fresh frozen plasma or prothrombin complex concentrates; the occasional use of recombinant activated factor VII has been reported. No prospective study has addressed the efficacy of, or outcomes from, the use of these practices.
Conclusions— Current management of OAT-ICH is varied and not based on evidence from randomized controlled trials. Well-designed clinical trials are essential if we are to identify the effective acute treatments for OAT-ICH that are urgently needed.
- Received June 23, 2005.
- Accepted October 19, 2005.