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A growing number of patients in Germany receive a long-term prophylactic anticoagulation with phenprocoumone or one of the novel direct oral anticoagulants (NOAC), such as dabigatran, rivaroxaban or apixaban. The most common indication for an oral anticoagulant therapy is atrial fibrillation (approximately 75%) where the anticoagulant therapy can reduce the risk for an embolic event, particularly stroke by 60%. Operations carried out during such a therapy can result in major bleeding complications. On the other hand, suspending anticoagulant therapy can lead to an increased risk of thromboembolisms. Thus, the preoperative assessment should address the bleeding risk of the planned operation, the individual risk of thromboembolism, as well as other factors, such as patient age and renal function. If the individual assessment shows a substantial risk of perioperative bleeding when anticoagulant treatment is continued and a substantial risk of thromboembolism if the treatment is suspended, then a perioperative bridging, for example with low molecular weight heparin, is necessary. Perioperative bridging also leads to an increased risk of perioperative bleeding. Thus, undifferentiated bridging for all patients with atrial fibrillation with anticoagulant treatment is not recommended. Instead, the indications for a perioperative bridging should be decided according to individual risk profiles.
PMID: 29322206 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]