A major disadvantage is the increased incidence of intracranial hemorrhages
The impact of antithrombotic therapy on the outcome of subdural hematoma is not well characterized to date.
Intracranial hemorrhage may be a particularly devastating complication of anticoagulant therapy. Very few accounts have reported data on the duration of anticoagulant discontinuation following intracranial hemorrhage or the intensity of anticoagulation during treatment for it, although we must adequately manage such a complication.
A number of therapies-including fresh frozen plasma (FFP), intravenous vitamin K, activated and inactivated prothrombin complex concentrates (PCCs), and recombinant activated factor VII (rFVIIa)-have been used alone or in combination to treat AAICH to reverse anticoagulation, help achieve hemodynamic stability, limit hematoma expansion, and prepare the patient for possible surgical intervention. However, there is a paucity of high-quality data to direct such therapy. The use of 3-factor PCC (activated and inactivated) and rFVIIa to treat AAICH constitutes off-label use of these therapies in the United States. However, in April 2013, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Kcentra.
Plasma is the only other product approved for this use in the United States.
Inconsistent recommendations, significant barriers (e.g., clinician-, therapy-, or logistics-based barriers), and a lack of approved treatment pathways in some institutions can be potential impediments to timely and evidence-based management of AAICH with available therapies. Patient assessment, therapy selection, whether to use a reversal or factor repletion agent alone or in combination with other agents, determination of site-of-care management, eligibility for neurosurgery, and potential hematoma evacuation are the responsibilities of the neurosurgeon, but ultimate success requires a multidisciplinary approach with consultation from the emergency department (ED) physician, pharmacist, hematologist, intensivist, neurologist, and, in some cases, the trauma surgeon 1).
With the increased use of oral anticoagulation with vitamin K antagonists, emergency physicians encounter a growing number of patients requiring a rapid reversal of anticoagulant effects in order to perform urgent surgical procedures. Initiation of these procedures can be delayed because the coagulation status has to be assessed through examination of blood samples in central laboratories (CL). This delay may lead to negative effects, especially in potentially life-threatening conditions such as intracranial haemorrhage.
Point-of-care (POC) devices for assessment of international normalized ratio (POC INR) have improved the management of anticoagulation therapy in the outpatient setting. The use of these devices may also have beneficial effects in the treatment of anticoagulated patients requiring urgent neurosurgical procedures.
The POC coagulometer CoaguChek XS(®) was used in 17 patients with a history of anticoagulant use and a condition requiring urgent anticoagulant reversal prior to neurosurgical procedures (burr-hole trepanation: n = 8, craniotomy: n = 7, laminectomy: n = 2).
No technical difficulties occurred and rapid assessment of INR was achieved in all cases within 2 min. POC INR values correlated well with CL INR assessment with a mean INR deviation of 0.036 ± 0.12. The mean gain of time through the use of the POC INR device compared with CL assessment of INR was 47 ± 6 min (range: 37-61 min).
The initial experiences with a POC INR device in anticoagulated patients undergoing urgent neurosurgical procedures demonstrate that its use may contribute to an improved management of these patients 2).