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1.  A French multicenter randomised trial comparing two dose-regimens of prothrombin complex concentrates in urgent anticoagulation reversal 
Critical Care  2013;17(1):R4.
Prothrombin complex concentrates (PCC) are haemostatic blood preparations indicated for urgent anticoagulation reversal, though the optimal dose for effective reversal is still under debate. The latest generation of PCCs include four coagulation factors, the so-called 4-factor PCC. The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy and safety of two doses, 25 and 40 IU/kg, of 4-factor PCC in vitamin K antagonist (VKA) associated intracranial haemorrhage.
We performed a phase III, prospective, randomised, open-label study including patients with objectively diagnosed VKA-associated intracranial haemorrhage between November 2008 and April 2011 in 22 centres in France. Patients were randomised to receive 25 or 40 IU/kg of 4-factor PCC. The primary endpoint was the international normalised ratio (INR) 10 minutes after the end of 4-factor PCC infusion. Secondary endpoints were changes in coagulation factors, global clinical outcomes and incidence of adverse events (AEs).
A total of 59 patients were randomised: 29 in the 25 IU/kg and 30 in the 40 IU/kg group. Baseline demographics and clinical characteristics were comparable between the groups. The mean INR was significantly reduced to 1.2 - and ≤1.5 in all patients of both groups - 10 minutes after 4-factor PCC infusion. The INR in the 40 IU/kg group was significantly lower than in the 25 IU/kg group 10 minutes (P = 0.001), 1 hour (P = 0.001) and 3 hours (P = 0.02) after infusion. The 40 IU/kg dose was also effective in replacing coagulation factors such as PT (P = 0.038), FII (P = 0.001), FX (P <0.001), protein C (P = 0.002) and protein S (0.043), 10 minutes after infusion. However, no differences were found in haematoma volume or global clinical outcomes between the groups. Incidence of death and thrombotic events was similar between the groups.
Rapid infusion of both doses of 4-factor PCC achieved an INR of 1.5 or less in all patients with a lower INR observed in the 40 IU/kg group. No safety concerns were raised by the 40 IU/kg dose. Further trials are needed to evaluate the impact of the high dose of 4-factor PCC on functional outcomes and mortality.
Trial registration
Eudra CT number 2007-000602-73.
PMCID: PMC4057510  PMID: 23305460
2.  Reversal of Vitamin K Antagonist (VKA) effect in patients with severe bleeding: a French multicenter observational study (Optiplex) assessing the use of Prothrombin Complex Concentrate (PCC) in current clinical practice 
Critical Care  2012;16(5):R185.
Prothrombin Complex Concentrate (PCC) is a key treatment in the management of bleeding related to Vitamin K antagonists (VKA). This study aimed to evaluate prospectively PCC use in patients with VKA-related bleeding in view of the French guidelines published in 2008.
All consecutive patients with VKA-related bleeding treated with a 4-factor PCC (Octaplex®) were selected in 33 French hospitals. Collected data included demographics, site and severity of bleeding, modalities of PCC administration, International Normalized Ratio (INR) values before and after PCC administration, outcomes and survival rate 15 days after infusion.
Of 825 patients who received PCC between August 2008 and December 2010, 646 had severe bleeding. The main haemorrhage sites were intracranial (43.7%) and abdominal (24.3%). Mean INR before PCC was 4.4 ± 1.9; INR was unavailable in 12.5% of patients. The proportions of patients who received a PCC dose according to guidelines were 15.8% in patients with initial INR 2-2.5, 41.5% in patients with INR 2.5-3, 40.8% in patients with INR 3-3.5, 26.9% in patients with INR > 3.5, and 63.5% of patients with unknown INR. Vitamin K was administered in 84.7% of patients. The infused dose of PCC did not vary with initial INR; the mean dose was 25.3 ± 9.8 IU/Kg. Rates of controlled bleeding and target INR achievement were similar, regardless of whether or not patients were receiving PCC doses as per the guidelines. No differences in INR after PCC treatment were observed, regardless of whether or not vitamin K was administered. INR was first monitored after a mean time frame of 4.5 ± 5.6 hours post PCC. The overall survival rate at 15 days after PCC infusion was 75.4% (65.1% in patients with intracranial haemorrhage). A better prognosis was observed in patients reaching the target INR.
Severe bleeding related to VKA needs to be better managed, particularly regarding the PCC infused dose, INR monitoring and administration of vitamin K. A dose of 25 IU/kg PCC appears to be efficacious in achieving a target INR of 1.5. Further studies are required to assess whether adjusting PCC dose and/or better management of INR would improve outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3682287  PMID: 23036234
3.  Bench-to-bedside review: Optimising emergency reversal of vitamin K antagonists in severe haemorrhage – from theory to practice 
Critical Care  2009;13(2):209.
Critical care physicians are increasingly facing patients receiving oral anticoagulation for either cessation of major haemorrhage or to reverse the effects of vitamin K antagonists ahead of emergency surgery. Rapid reversal of anticoagulation is particularly essential in cases of life-threatening bleeding. In these situations, guidelines recommend the concomitant administration of prothrombin complex concentrates (PCCs) and oral or intravenous vitamin K for the fastest normalisation of the international normalised ratio (INR). Despite their universal recommendation, PCCs remain underused by many physicians who prefer to opt for fresh frozen plasma despite its limitations in anticoagulant reversal, including time to reverse INR and high risk of transfusion-related acute lung injury. In contrast, the lower volume required to normalise INR with PCCs and the room temperature storage facilitate faster preparation and administration time, thus increasing the speed at which haemorrhages can be treated. PCCs therefore allow faster, more reliable and complete reversal of vitamin K anticoagulation, especially when administered immediately following confirmation of haemorrhage. In the emergency setting, probabilistic dosing may be considered.
PMCID: PMC2689453  PMID: 19486503
4.  Point-of-Care International Normalized Ratio (INR) Monitoring Devices for Patients on Long-term Oral Anticoagulation Therapy 
Executive Summary
Subject of the Evidence-Based Analysis
The purpose of this evidence based analysis report is to examine the safety and effectiveness of point-of-care (POC) international normalized ratio (INR) monitoring devices for patients on long-term oral anticoagulation therapy (OAT).
Clinical Need: Target Population and Condition
Long-term OAT is typically required by patients with mechanical heart valves, chronic atrial fibrillation, venous thromboembolism, myocardial infarction, stroke, and/or peripheral arterial occlusion. It is estimated that approximately 1% of the population receives anticoagulation treatment and, by applying this value to Ontario, there are an estimated 132,000 patients on OAT in the province, a figure that is expected to increase with the aging population.
Patients on OAT are regularly monitored and their medications adjusted to ensure that their INR scores remain in the therapeutic range. This can be challenging due to the narrow therapeutic window of warfarin and variation in individual responses. Optimal INR scores depend on the underlying indication for treatment and patient level characteristics, but for most patients the therapeutic range is an INR score of between 2.0 and 3.0.
The current standard of care in Ontario for patients on long-term OAT is laboratory-based INR determination with management carried out by primary care physicians or anticoagulation clinics (ACCs). Patients also regularly visit a hospital or community-based facility to provide a venous blood samples (venipuncture) that are then sent to a laboratory for INR analysis.
Experts, however, have commented that there may be under-utilization of OAT due to patient factors, physician factors, or regional practice variations and that sub-optimal patient management may also occur. There is currently no population-based Ontario data to permit the assessment of patient care, but recent systematic reviews have estimated that less that 50% of patients receive OAT on a routine basis and that patients are in the therapeutic range only 64% of the time.
Overview of POC INR Devices
POC INR devices offer an alternative to laboratory-based testing and venipuncture, enabling INR determination from a fingerstick sample of whole blood. Independent evaluations have shown POC devices to have an acceptable level of precision. They permit INR results to be determined immediately, allowing for more rapid medication adjustments.
POC devices can be used in a variety of settings including physician offices, ACCs, long-term care facilities, pharmacies, or by the patients themselves through self-testing (PST) or self-management (PSM) techniques. With PST, patients measure their INR values and then contact their physician for instructions on dose adjustment, whereas with PSM, patients adjust the medication themselves based on pre-set algorithms. These models are not suitable for all patients and require the identification and education of suitable candidates.
Potential advantages of POC devices include improved convenience to patients, better treatment compliance and satisfaction, more frequent monitoring and fewer thromboembolic and hemorrhagic complications. Potential disadvantages of the device include the tendency to underestimate high INR values and overestimate low INR values, low thromboplastin sensitivity, inability to calculate a mean normal PT, and errors in INR determination in patients with antiphospholipid antibodies with certain instruments. Although treatment satisfaction and quality of life (QoL) may improve with POC INR monitoring, some patients may experience increased anxiety or preoccupation with their disease with these strategies.
Evidence-Based Analysis Methods
Research Questions
1. Effectiveness
Does POC INR monitoring improve clinical outcomes in various settings compared to standard laboratory-based testing?
Does POC INR monitoring impact patient satisfaction, QoL, compliance, acceptability, convenience compared to standard laboratory-based INR determination?
Settings include primary care settings with use of POC INR devices by general practitioners or nurses, ACCs, pharmacies, long-term care homes, and use by the patient either for PST or PSM.
2. Cost-effectiveness
What is the cost-effectiveness of POC INR monitoring devices in various settings compared to standard laboratory-based INR determination?
Inclusion Criteria
English-language RCTs, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses
Publication dates: 1996 to November 25, 2008
Population: patients on OAT
Intervention: anticoagulation monitoring by POC INR device in any setting including anticoagulation clinic, primary care (general practitioner or nurse), pharmacy, long-term care facility, PST, PSM or any other POC INR strategy
Minimum sample size: 50 patients Minimum follow-up period: 3 months
Comparator: usual care defined as venipuncture blood draw for an INR laboratory test and management provided by an ACC or individual practitioner
Outcomes: Hemorrhagic events, thromboembolic events, all-cause mortality, anticoagulation control as assessed by proportion of time or values in the therapeutic range, patient reported outcomes including satisfaction, QoL, compliance, acceptability, convenience
Exclusion criteria
Non-RCTs, before-after studies, quasi-experimental studies, observational studies, case reports, case series, editorials, letters, non-systematic reviews, conference proceedings, abstracts, non-English articles, duplicate publications
Studies where POC INR devices were compared to laboratory testing to assess test accuracy
Studies where the POC INR results were not used to guide patient management
Method of Review
A search of electronic databases (OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE, The Cochrane Library, and the International Agency for Health Technology Assessment [INAHTA] database) was undertaken to identify evidence published from January 1, 1998 to November 25, 2008. Studies meeting the inclusion criteria were selected from the search results. Reference lists of selected articles were also checked for relevant studies.
Summary of Findings
Five existing reviews and 22 articles describing 17 unique RCTs met the inclusion criteria. Three RCTs examined POC INR monitoring devices with PST strategies, 11 RCTs examined PSM strategies, one RCT included both PST and PSM strategies and two RCTs examined the use of POC INR monitoring devices by health care professionals.
Anticoagulation Control
Anticoagulation control is measured by the percentage of time INR is within the therapeutic range or by the percentage of INR values in the therapeutic range. Due to the differing methodologies and reporting structures used, it was deemed inappropriate to combine the data and estimate whether the difference between groups would be significant. Instead, the results of individual studies were weighted by the number of person-years of observation and then pooled to calculate a summary measure.
Across most studies, patients in the intervention groups tended to have a higher percentage of time and values in the therapeutic target range in comparison to control patients. When the percentage of time in the therapeutic range was pooled across studies and weighted by the number of person-years of observation, the difference between the intervention and control groups was 4.2% for PSM, 7.2% for PST and 6.1% for POC use by health care practitioners. Overall, intervention patients were in the target range 69% of the time and control patients were in the therapeutic target range 64% of the time leading to an overall difference between groups of roughly 5%.
Major Complications and Deaths
There was no statistically significant difference in the number of major hemorrhagic events between patients managed with POC INR monitoring devices and patients managed with standard laboratory testing (OR =0.74; 95% CI: 0.52- 1.04). This difference was non-significant for all POC strategies (PSM, PST, health care practitioner).
Patients managed with POC INR monitoring devices had significantly fewer thromboembolic events than usual care patients (OR =0.52; 95% CI: 0.37 - 0.74). When divided by POC strategy, PSM resulted in significantly fewer thromboembolic events than usual care (OR =0.46.; 95% CI: 0.29 - 0.72). The observed difference in thromboembolic events for PSM remained significant when the analysis was limited to major thromboembolic events (OR =0.40; 95% CI: 0.17 - 0.93), but was non-significant when the analysis was limited to minor thromboembolic events (OR =0.73; 95% CI: 0.08 - 7.01). PST and GP/Nurse strategies did not result in significant differences in thromboembolic events, however there were only a limited number of studies examining these interventions.
No statistically significant difference was observed in the number of deaths between POC intervention and usual care control groups (OR =0.67; 95% CI: 0.41 - 1.10). This difference was non-significant for all POC strategies. Only one study reported on survival with 10-year survival rate of 76.1% in the usual care control group compared to 84.5% in the PSM group (P=0.05).
Summary Results of Meta-Analyses of Major Complications and Deaths in POC INR Monitoring Studies
Patient Satisfaction and Quality of Life
Quality of life measures were reported in eight studies comparing POC INR monitoring to standard laboratory testing using a variety of measurement tools. It was thus not possible to calculate a quantitative summary measure. The majority of studies reported favourable impacts of POC INR monitoring on QoL and found better treatment satisfaction with POC monitoring. Results from a pre-analysis patient and caregiver focus group conducted in Ontario also indicated improved patient QoL with POC monitoring.
Quality of the Evidence
Studies varied with regard to patient eligibility, baseline patient characteristics, follow-up duration, and withdrawal rates. Differential drop-out rates were observed such that the POC intervention groups tended to have a larger number of patients who withdrew. There was a lack of consistency in the definitions and reporting for OAT control and definitions of adverse events. In most studies, the intervention group received more education on the use of warfarin and performed more frequent INR testing, which may have overestimated the effect of the POC intervention. Patient selection and eligibility criteria were not always fully described and it is likely that the majority of the PST/PSM trials included a highly motivated patient population. Lastly, a large number of trials were also sponsored by industry.
Despite the observed heterogeneity among studies, there was a general consensus in findings that POC INR monitoring devices have beneficial impacts on the risk of thromboembolic events, anticoagulation control and patient satisfaction and QoL (ES Table 2).
GRADE Quality of the Evidence on POC INR Monitoring Studies
CI refers to confidence interval; Interv, intervention; OR, odds ratio; RCT, randomized controlled trial.
Economic Analysis
Using a 5-year Markov model, the health and economic outcomes associated with four different anticoagulation management approaches were evaluated:
Standard care: consisting of a laboratory test with a venipuncture blood draw for an INR;
Healthcare staff testing: consisting of a test with a POC INR device in a medical clinic comprised of healthcare staff such as pharmacists, nurses, and physicians following protocol to manage OAT;
PST: patient self-testing using a POC INR device and phoning in results to an ACC or family physician; and
PSM: patient self-managing using a POC INR device and self-adjustment of OAT according to a standardized protocol. Patients may also phone in to a medical office for guidance.
The primary analytic perspective was that of the MOHLTC. Only direct medical costs were considered and the time horizon of the model was five years - the serviceable life of a POC device.
From the results of the economic analysis, it was found that POC strategies are cost-effective compared to traditional INR laboratory testing. In particular, the healthcare staff testing strategy can derive potential cost savings from the use of one device for multiple patients. The PSM strategy, however, seems to be the most cost-effective method i.e. patients are more inclined to adjust their INRs more readily (as opposed to allowing INRs to fall out of range).
Considerations for Ontario Health System
Although the use of POC devices continues to diffuse throughout Ontario, not all OAT patients are suitable or have the ability to practice PST/PSM. The use of POC is currently concentrated at the institutional setting, including hospitals, ACCs, long-term care facilities, physician offices and pharmacies, and is much less commonly used at the patient level. It is, however, estimated that 24% of OAT patients (representing approximately 32,000 patients in Ontario), would be suitable candidates for PST/PSM strategies and willing to use a POC device.
There are several barriers to the use and implementation of POC INR monitoring devices, including factors such as lack of physician familiarity with the devices, resistance to changing established laboratory-based methods, lack of an approach for identifying suitable patients and inadequate resources for effective patient education and training. Issues of cost and insufficient reimbursement strategies may also hinder implementation and effective quality assurance programs would need to be developed to ensure that INR measurements are accurate and precise.
For a select group of patients who are highly motivated and trained, PSM resulted in significantly fewer thromboembolic events compared to conventional laboratory-based INR testing. No significant differences were observed for major hemorrhages or all-cause mortality. PST and GP/Nurse use of POC strategies are just as effective as conventional laboratory-based INR testing for thromboembolic events, major hemorrhages, and all-cause mortality. POC strategies may also result in better OAT control as measured by the proportion of time INR is in the therapeutic range and there appears to be beneficial impacts on patient satisfaction and QoL. The use of POC devices should factor in patient suitability, patient education and training, health system constraints, and affordability.
anticoagulants, International Normalized Ratio, point-of-care, self-monitoring, warfarin.
PMCID: PMC3377545  PMID: 23074516
5.  Activated Prothrombin Complex Concentrates for the Reversal of Anticoagulant-Associated Coagulopathy 
Pharmacy and Therapeutics  2013;38(11):696-701.
Managing hemorrhaging after the use of warfarin and other anticoagulants is challenging. Although an FDA-approved product, FEIBA, has been used as an off-label anticoagulant-reversal agent, the potential risks of thrombosis associated with activated prothrombin complex concentrates must be carefully weighed.
Prothrombin complex concentrate (PCC) products are emerging as alternative strategies for reversing anticoagulant pharmacotherapy. Factor eight inhibitor bypassing activity (FEIBA, or anti-inhibitor coagulant complex) is an activated PCC (aPCC). Although FEIBA is approved by the FDA to control spontaneous bleeding episodes and to prevent bleeding with surgical interventions in hemophilia A and hemophilia B patients with inhibitors to factor VIII, recent data have suggested that the product may be used off-label as an anticoagulant-reversal agent. To evaluate the safety and efficacy of aPCC products in reversing anticoagulant pharmacotherapy, we searched online databases for English-language publications that discussed this topic.
Data Sources: The EMBASE, MEDLINE, and International Pharmaceutical Abstracts databases were used. We evaluated all articles published in the English language identified from the data sources. We included studies conducted in human subjects and in in vitro and in vivo models in our review.
Current published evidence suggests that the use of an aPCC, compared with fresh-frozen plasma, is associated with a significantly faster correction of supratherapeutic International Normalized Ratios (INRs) secondary to warfarin therapy. Conflicting evidence exists regarding the ability of aPCCs to reverse the prolonged bleeding times caused by the anticoagulant agents dabigatran etexilate (Pradaxa), rivaroxaban (Xarelto), apixaban (Eliquis), and fondaparinux (Arixtra).
The theoretical risks of thrombosis associated with PCC products must be carefully considered before they are administered to patients who require coagulation therapy. The use of aPCCs to reverse the anticoagulant effects of warfarin, dabigatran, or rivaroxaban should be limited because of the lack of efficacy and safety data in humans. Moreover, the safety of aPCCs in off-label indications has not been adequately assessed.
PMCID: PMC3875259  PMID: 24391389
FEIBA; activated PCC; hemorrhage; reversal; anticoagulation
6.  Prothrombin complex concentrate (Beriplex P/N) in severe bleeding: experience in a large tertiary hospital 
Critical Care  2008;12(4):R105.
Major blood loss can often be life-threatening and is most commonly encountered in the settings of surgery and trauma. Patients receiving anticoagulant therapy are also at increased risk of bleeding. We investigated the use of a prothrombin complex concentrate (PCC; Beriplex P/N, CSL Behring, Marburg, Germany) to treat severe bleeding in a variety of settings: cardiac surgery, warfarin therapy and other surgery.
Thirty consecutive patients who had received PCC were identified from blood transfusion records. For cardiac surgery and warfarin reversal, PCC was administered in accordance with hospital protocols. PCC was administered to cardiac and other surgical patients responding poorly to recognized blood products, whereas it was administered first-line to patients with life-threatening bleeds and requiring warfarin reversal, in accordance with British Committee for Standards in Haematology guidelines. We conducted a retrospective analysis of patient records in order to ascertain PCC dose, use of other blood products and response to PCC (clotting screen results before and after PCC administration, haemostasis achievement, and survival).
Six patients (20%) were excluded because of inadequate documentation (n = 5) or acquired haemophilia (n = 1). Therefore, 24 patients were included in the analysis: coronary artery bypass graft (n = 5), mitral/aortic valve replacement (n = 2), other surgery (n = 9) and warfarin reversal (n = 8). Most patients (83.3%) received no more than 1500 IU of Beriplex P/N 500. Considerable reduction in administration of other blood products was seen during the 24 hours after PCC administration. Partial or complete haemostasis was achieved in 14 out of 18 cases (77.8%). In total, 12 out of 24 patients (50%) died during the study; two-thirds of the deaths were considered unrelated to bleeding. No thrombotic complications or adverse drug reactions were observed.
This study emphasizes the value of PCC in reversing the effects of oral anticoagulant therapy in bleeding patients. It also demonstrates the potential value of PCC in controlling bleeding in patients undergoing cardiac and other surgical procedures. The use of PCC in bleeding patients without hereditary or anticoagulation-related coagulopathy is novel, and further investigation is warranted. In the future, it may be possible to use PCC as a substitute for fresh frozen plasma in this setting; adequate documentation is crucial for all blood products.
PMCID: PMC2575594  PMID: 18706082
7.  Use of Prothrombin Complex Concentrate for Vitamin K Antagonist Reversal before Surgical Treatment of Intracranial Hemorrhage 
Oral anticoagulant therapy (OAT) is used to prevent/treat thromboembolism. Major bleeding is common in patients on OAT; eg, warfarin increases intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) risk.
A 71-year-old male on warfarin (to reduce stroke risk) presented at Accident and Emergency Minor Injuries Unit with headache after reportedly sounding ‘drunk’. On triage, the patient appeared lucid and well. However, International Normalized Ratio (INR) was 4.1. Head computed tomography (CT) indicated a large right-sided subdural hematoma. Prothrombin complex concentrate (PCC; Beriplex® P/N, CSL Behring) with vitamin K normalized the INR within minutes of administration. The patient underwent neurosurgery without complications, and was discharged after 5 days, with no residual neurological symptoms.
ICH patients can present with no neurological signs. In OAT patients with headache, INR must be established; if ≥3.0, normalization of INR and head CT are essential. PCC is the best option to rapidly reverse anticoagulation and correct INR pre-surgery.
PMCID: PMC3096433  PMID: 21769259
anticoagulation reversal; Beriplex® P/N; computed tomography; International Normalized Ratio; intracranial hemorrhage; prothrombin complex concentrate
8.  Emergency reversal of anticoagulation with a three-factor prothrombin complex concentrate in patients with intracranial haemorrhage 
Blood Transfusion  2011;9(2):148-155.
Intracranial haemorrhage is a serious and potentially fatal complication of oral anticoagulant therapy. Prothrombin complex concentrates can substantially shorten the time needed to reverse the effects of oral anticoagulants. The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy and safety of a prothrombin complex concentrate for rapid reversal of oral anticoagulant therapy in patients with intracranial haemorrhage.
Patients receiving oral anticoagulant therapy and suffering from acute intracranial haemorrhage were eligible for this prospective cohort study if their International Normalised Ratio (INR) was higher than or equal to 2.0. The prothrombin complex concentrate was infused at doses of 35–50 IU/kg, stratified according to the initial INR.
Forty-six patients (25 males; mean age: 75 years; range 38–92 years) were enrolled. The median INR at presentation was 3.5 (range, 2–9). At 30 minutes after administration of the prothrombin complex concentrate, the median INR was 1.3 (range, 0.9–3), and the INR then declined to less than or equal to 1.5 in 75% of patients. The benefit of the prothrombin complex concentrate was maintained for a long time, since the median INR remained lower than or equal to 1.5 (median, 1.16; range, 0.9–2.2) at 96% of all post-infusion time-points up to 96 hours. No thrombotic complications or significant adverse events were observed during hospitalisation; six patients (13%) died, but none of these deaths was judged to be related to administration of the prothrombin complex concentrate.
Prothrombin complex concentrates are an effective, rapid and safe treatment for the urgent reversal of oral anticoagulation in patients with intracranial haemorrhage. Broader use of prothrombin complex concentrates in this clinical setting appears to be appropriate.
PMCID: PMC3096857  PMID: 21251465
intracranial haemorrhage; oral anticoagulants; prothrombin complex concentrates
9.  Real world usage of PCC to “rapidly” correct warfarin induced coagulopathy 
Blood Transfusion  2013;11(4):500-505.
Life threatening bleeding and emergency procedures in patients on vitamin K antagonists are indications for urgent reversal with prothrombin complex concentrate and vitamin K. Rapid reversal in these situations is emphasized in the literature and guidelines, but only very limited information is available on its real life use, especially on the timing of treatment in relation to presentation.
Materials and methods
We retrospectively audited emergency warfarin reversal in 131 consecutive patients. We studied the indication, use of vitamin K, time between presentation and administration of vitamin K and PCC, effectiveness in INR reduction and clinical outcome.
The median PCC dose was 26.8 IU/kg. The median INR was reduced from 3.1 to 1.2. Vitamin K (5 mg) was given in 91.6% of evaluable patients. We found significant delays in administration of PCC and vitamin K. The median time between presentation and administration of vitamin K/PCC was 3.6 and 5.2 hours respectively. The times in intracranial haemorrhage were 2.7 and 3.0 hours and in emergency procedures 17.4 and 15.9 hours respectively. Mortality related to bleeding was 7.6% overall but in patients with intracranial haemorrhage 22.8%. The thrombotic rate within 7 days of reversal was 1.5%.
The local protocol for reversal with PCC and vitamin K was adhered to well but the delay in pre-procedural patients, suggests that intravenous vitamin K alone may be sufficient in many cases and PCC administration can be avoided by better planning. Intracranial haemorrhage in warfarinised patients carries a high mortality. Treatment delays should be avoided by making PCC stocks available within emergency departments, simple dosing structures independent of INR and administering PCC without waiting for INR and CT scan results in those with strong suspicion of intracranial haemorrhage and clear trauma. Future reports and studies should always include the time from presentation to PCC treatment.
PMCID: PMC3827392  PMID: 23114527
prothrombin complex concentrate; vitamin K antagonist; reversal; warfarin; haemorrhage
10.  Multivariate relationships between international normalized ratio and vitamin K-dependent coagulation-derived parameters in normal healthy donors and oral anticoagulant therapy patients 
Thrombosis Journal  2003;1:7.
Background and objectives
International Normalized Ratio (INR) is a world-wide routinely used factor in the monitoring of oral anticoagulation treatment (OAT). However, it was reported that other factors, e. g. factor II, may even better reflect therapeutic efficacy of OAT and, therefore, may be potentialy useful for OAT monitoring. The primary purpose of this study was to characterize the associations of INR with other vitamin K-dependent plasma proteins in a heterogenous group of individuals, including healthy donors, patients on OAT and patients not receiving OAT. The study aimed also at establishing the influence of co-morbid conditions (incl. accompanying diseases) and co-medications (incl. different intensity of OAT) on INR.
Design and Methods
Two hundred and three subjects were involved in the study. Of these, 35 were normal healthy donors (group I), 73 were patients on medication different than OAT (group II) and 95 were patients on stable oral anticoagulant (acenocoumarol) therapy lasting for at least half a year prior to the study. The values of INR and activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT) ratio, as well as activities of FII, FVII, FX, protein C, and concentration of prothrombin F1+2 fragments and fibrinogen were obtained for all subjects. In statistical evaluation, the uni- and multivariate analyses were employed and the regression equations describing the obtained associations were estimated.
Of the studied parameters, three (factors II, VII and X) appeared as very strong modulators of INR, protein C and prothrombin fragments F1+2 had moderate influence, whereas both APTT ratio and fibrinogen had no significant impact on INR variability. Due to collinearity and low tolerance of independent variables included in the multiple regression models, we routinely employed a ridge multiple regression model which compromises the minimal number of independent variables with the maximal overall determination coefficient. The best-fitted two-component model included FII and FVII activities and explained 90% of INR variability (compared to 93% in the 5-component model including all vitamin K-dependent proteins). Neither the presence of accompanying diseases nor the use of OAT nor any other medication (acetylsalicylic acid, statins, steroids, thyroxin) biased significantly these associations.
Among various vitamin K-dependent plasma proteins, the coagulation factors II, VII and X showed the most significant associations with INR. Of these variables, the two-component model, including factors II and VII, deserves special attention, as it largely explains the overall variability observed in INR estimates. The statistical power of this model is validated on virtue of the estimation that the revealed associations are rather universal and remain essentially unbiased by other compounding variables, including clinical status and medical treatment. Further, much broader population studies are needed to verify clinical usefulness of methods alternate or compounding to INR monitoring of OAT.
PMCID: PMC317378  PMID: 14969588
International Normalized Ratio (INR) of prothrombin time; clotting factors; protein C; prothrombin fragment F1+2; multivariate analysis
11.  Comparison of 3-Factor Prothrombin Complex Concentrate and Low-Dose Recombinant Factor VIIa for Warfarin Reversal 
Prothrombin complex concentrate (PCC) and recombinant Factor VIIa (rFVIIa) have been used for emergent reversal of warfarin anticoagulation. Few clinical studies have compared these agents in warfarin reversal. We compared warfarin reversal in patients who received either 3 factor PCC (PCC3) or low-dose rFVIIa (LDrFVIIa) for reversal of warfarin anticoagulation.
Data were collected from medical charts of patients who received at least one dose of PCC3 (20 units/kg) or LDrFVIIa (1000 or 1200 mcg) for emergent warfarin reversal from August 2007 to October 2011. The primary end-points were achievement of an INR 1.5 or less for efficacy and thromboembolic events for safety.
Seventy-four PCC3 and 32 LDrFVIIa patients were analyzed. Baseline demographics, reason for warfarin reversal, and initial INR were equivalent. There was no difference in the use of vitamin K or fresh frozen plasma. More LDrFVIIa patients achieved an INR of 1.5 or less (71.9% vs. 33.8%, p =0.001). The follow-up INR was lower after LDrFVIIa (1.25 vs. 1.75, p < 0.05) and the percent change in INR was larger after LDrFVIIa (54.1% vs. 38.8%, p = 0.002). There was no difference in the number of thromboembolic events (2 LDrFVIIa vs. 5 PCC3, p = 1.00), mortality, length of hospital stay, or cost.
Based on achieving a goal INR of 1.5 or less, LDrFVIIa was more likely than PCC3 to reverse warfarin anticoagulation. Thromboembolic events were equivalent in patients receiving PCC3 and LDrFVIIa.
PMCID: PMC3996494  PMID: 24731393
Anticoagulation; Hemorrhage; Trauma; Prothrombin complex concentrate; Recombinant factor VIIa; Warfarin
12.  Prothrombin Complex Concentrate for Rapid Reversal of Warfarin Anticoagulation to Allow Neuraxial Blockade 
Case Reports in Anesthesiology  2014;2014:126864.
The development of Prothrombin Complex Concentrates (PCCs) has led to better outcomes in patients receiving emergency reversal of warfarin. However, most published data describes the use of PCCs in the setting of major bleeding or emergent major surgery, with little information on neuraxial blockade. We describe a case of rapid warfarin reversal using PCC and subsequent surgery under spinal anaesthesia in an 87-year-old lady, for whom general anaesthesia was deemed high risk. Her international normalised ratio (INR) on the morning of surgery was 1.8, precluding neuraxial blockade; however, it was felt that given, the need for imminent surgery, immediate reversal of the warfarin was indicated. We administered a single dose of 23 units/kg PCC and 5 mg vitamin K. Her INR 1 hour following PCC was 1.2, and spinal anesthetic was administered. The patient then underwent excision of melanoma deposits from her leg and groin dissection. There were no complications, the patient recovered satisfactorily, and there were no thrombotic or hemorrhagic events at 30 days postoperatively. This case study demonstrates a novel use of PCCs; in certain patients, PCCs may be safely used for immediate reversal of warfarin to allow for neuraxial blockade, safer anaesthesia, and better outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3970067  PMID: 24715985
13.  Warfarin Anticoagulation Exacerbates the Risk of Hemorrhagic Transformation after rt-PA Treatment in Experimental Stroke: Therapeutic Potential of PCC 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(10):e26087.
Oral anticoagulant therapy (OAT) with warfarin is the standard of stroke prevention in patients with atrial fibrillation. Approximately 30% of patients with cardioembolic strokes are on OAT at the time of symptom onset. We investigated whether warfarin exacerbates the risk of thrombolysis-associated hemorrhagic transformation (HT) in a mouse model of ischemic stroke.
62 C57BL/6 mice were used for this study. To achieve effective anticoagulation, warfarin was administered orally. We performed right middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) for 3 h and assessed functional deficit and HT blood volume after 24 h.
In non-anticoagulated mice, treatment with rt-PA (10 mg/kg i.v.) after 3 h MCAO led to a 5-fold higher degree of HT compared to vehicle-treated controls (4.0±0.5 µl vs. 0.8±0.1, p<0.001). Mice on warfarin revealed larger amounts of HT after rt-PA treatment in comparison to non-anticoagulated mice (9.2±3.2 µl vs. 2.8±1.0, p<0.05). The rapid reversal of anticoagulation by means of prothrombin complex concentrates (PCC, 100 IU/kg) at the end of the 3 h MCAO period, but prior to rt-PA administration, neutralized the exacerbated risk of HT as compared to sham-treated controls (3.8±0.7 µl vs. 15.0±3.8, p<0.001).
In view of the vastly increased risk of HT, it seems to be justified to withhold tPA therapy in effectively anticoagulated patients with acute ischemic stroke. The rapid reversal of anticoagulation with PCC prior to tPA application reduces the risk attributed to warfarin pretreatment and may constitute an interesting therapeutic option.
PMCID: PMC3198453  PMID: 22039437
14.  A review of the clinical utility of INR to monitor and guide administration of prothrombin complex concentrate to orally anticoagulated patients 
Thrombosis Journal  2012;10:5.
Background and objectives
The number of patients treated with oral anticoagulation (OAC) is increasing and these patients are monitored by International Normalized Ratio (INR). Bleeding complications are common and we speculate if this is related to the limitation of INR only reflecting the initiation steps of the haemostatic process. The objective of the present review was to reassess the evidence for using INR as a tool to guide administration of prothrombin complex concentrates (PCC) to OAC patients. A Medline and Cochrane database search was conducted using the following keywords: prothrombin complex concentrate, reversal of oral anticoagulation and international normalized ratio (INR). Thirty-three articles were contracted and a total of ten studies were eligible after applying inclusion and exclusion criteria encompassing only 339 patients. No consensus regarding optimal target INR value to aim for when reversing OAC was found. In three of the studies it was reported that patients reaching their target INR continued to bleed, whereas three studies reviewed reported good haemostatic response also in patients that did not reach their target INR. The present review found limited evidence for the usefulness of INR as a tool to monitor and guide reversal of OAC induced coagulopathy in patients with PCC, which is expected given that it is a plasma-based assay only reflecting a limited part of the haemostatic process.
PMCID: PMC3413545  PMID: 22546056
INR; PCC; OAC; Anticoagulation reversal; Haemostatic efficacy
15.  Rapid reversal of anticoagulation reduces hemorrhage volume in a mouse model of Warfarin-associated intracerebral hemorrhage 
Warfarin-associated intracerebral hemorrhage (W-ICH) is a severe type of stroke. There is no consensus on the optimal treatment for W-ICH. Using a mouse model, we tested whether the rapid reversal of anticoagulation using human prothrombin complex concentrate (PCC) can reduce hemorrhagic blood volume. Male CD-1 mice were treated with warfarin (2 mg/kg over 24 h), resulting in a mean (±s.d.) International Normalized Ratio of 3.5±0.9. First, we showed that an intravenous administration of human PCC rapidly reversed anticoagulation in mice. Second, a stereotactic injection of collagenase was administered to induce hemorrhage in the right striatum. Forty-five minutes later, the animals were randomly treated with PCC (100 U/kg) or saline IV (n = 12 per group). Twenty-four hours after hemorrhage induction, hemorrhagic blood volume was quantified using a photometric hemoglobin assay. The mean hemorrhagic blood volume was reduced in PCC-treated animals (6.5±3.1 μL) compared with saline controls (15.3±11.2 μL, P = 0.015). In the saline group, 45% of the mice developed large hematomas (i.e., > 15 μL). In contrast, such extensive lesions were never found in the PCC group. We provide experimental data suggesting PCC to be an effective acute treatment for W-ICH in terms of reducing hemorrhagic blood volume. Future studies are needed to assess the therapeutic potential emerging from our finding for human W-ICH.
PMCID: PMC3691988  PMID: 19319147
anticoagulation; intracerebral hemorrhage; mouse model; warfarin
16.  Recombinant Activated Coagulation Factor VII and Prothrombin Complex Concentrates Are Equally Effective in Reducing Hematoma Volume in Experimental Warfarin-Associated Intracerebral Hemorrhage 
Background and Purpose
Based on an experimental model of warfarin-associated intracerebral hemorrhage, we investigated whether the rapid reversal of anticoagulation using prothrombin complex concentrates (PCC) or recombinant activated coagulation factor VII (rFVIIa) reduces hematoma volume.
Mice were orally pretreated with warfarin (2 mg/kg). Intracerebral hemorrhage was induced by collagenase injection into the right striatum. Forty-five minutes later, PCC (100 IE/kg), rFVIIa (1 mg/kg), or an equal volume of saline was administered intravenously. Hematoma volume after 24 hours was quantified using a photometric hemoglobin assay.
International normalized ratio was 4.3 ± 0.4 in saline-treated mice, 0.9 ± 0.1 in rFVIIa mice, and 1.4 ± 0.2 in PCC mice. Intracerebral hemorrhage volume was 29.0 ± 19.7 µL in the saline group (n = 7), 8.6 ± 4.3 µL in the rFVIIa group (n = 6), and 6.1 ± 1.8 µL in the PCC group (n = 7; analysis of variance between-group differences P = 0.004; post hoc rFVIIa versus saline P = 0.021; PCC versus saline P = 0.007). No significant difference was found between PCC- and rFVIIa-treated animals.
Our results suggest that PCC and rFVIIa are equally effective in restoring coagulation and preventing excessive hematoma growth in acute warfarin-associated intracerebral hemorrhage.
PMCID: PMC3722613  PMID: 21998055
animal models; anticoagulation; ICH; intracerebral hemorrhage; warfarin
17.  Prothrombin complex concentrate in surgical patients: retrospective evaluation of vitamin K antagonist reversal and treatment of severe bleeding 
Critical Care  2009;13(6):R191.
Prothrombin complex concentrates are recommended for rapid reversal of vitamin K anticoagulants. As they normalize levels of vitamin K dependent clotting factors and re-establish hemostasis, they may also be used as adjunctive therapy in patients with major bleeding. The aim of this study was to retrospectively evaluate the efficacy of prothrombin complex concentrates in the surgical setting.
The case notes of 50 patients requiring urgent oral anticoagulation reversal (n = 12) or with severe perioperative coagulopathic bleeding (n = 38) who received an infusion of prothrombin complex concentrate (Beriplex P/N(R) 500) at the surgical department of the University of Munich Hospital, Germany were retrospectively reviewed. Efficacy of prothrombin complex concentrate application was evaluated using the Quick test, reported as an international normalized ratio, hemodynamic measurements and requirement for blood products. Safety assessments included whole blood hemoglobin levels and specific parameters of organ dysfunction.
Baseline characteristics were comparable, except that mean baseline international normalized ratio and hemoglobin levels were significantly higher (P < 0.01) in anticoagulation reversal than in bleeding patients. In anticoagulation reversal, the international normalized ratio was significantly reduced (from 2.8 +/- 0.2 at baseline to 1.5 +/- 0.1, P < 0.001) after one prothrombin complex concentrate infusion (median dose 1500 IU; lower quartile 1,000, upper quartile 2,000). No major bleeding was observed during surgery after prothrombin complex concentrate administration. Only one patient received platelets and red blood cell transfusion after prothrombin complex concentrate administration. In bleeding patients, infusion of prothrombin complex concentrate (median dose 2,000 IU; lower quartile 2,000, upper quartile 3,000) significantly reduced the INR from 1.7 +/- 0.1 at baseline to 1.4 +/- 0.1 (P < 0.001). This decrease was unrelated to fresh frozen plasma or vitamin K administration. Bleeding stopped after prothrombin complex concentrate administration in 4/11 (36%) patients with surgical bleeding and 26/27 (96%) patients with diffuse bleeding. Hemoglobin levels increased significantly from baseline in bleeding patients (P < 0.05) and mean arterial pressure stabilized (P < 0.05). No thrombotic events or changes in organ function were reported in any patient.
Prothrombin complex concentrate application effectively reduced international normalized ratios in anticoagulation reversal, allowing surgical procedures and interventions without major bleeding. In bleeding patients, the improvement in coagulation after prothrombin complex concentrate administration was judged to be clinically significant.
PMCID: PMC2811941  PMID: 19948037
18.  INR reduction after prothrombin complex concentrate (Co-fact©) administration: comparison of INR outcomes in different patient categories at the emergency department 
Co-fact©, prothrombin complex concentrate, is used for restoring the international normalized ratio (INR) in patients on vitamin K antagonists (VKA) presenting with acute bleeding. In this prospective cohort study, we evaluated whether adequate INR values were reached in ED patients using the Sanquin (Federation of Dutch Thrombosis Services) treatment protocol.
We evaluated this protocol for two target INR groups: group 1, target INR ≤ 1.5 (for life-threatening bleeding/immediate intervention); group 2, target INR 1.6-2.1 (in cases of a minor urgent surgery or serious overdosing of anticoagulant). We specifically wanted to identify both under- and over-treated patients. Reversing VKA anticoagulation therapy to unnecessarily low INR values may involve thrombotic risks. Apart from this risk, the patient is also administered an excess amount of the drug. This means unnecessary costs and may present problems with restoring an anticoagulated state at a later time.
In our cohort, the Sanquin dosing protocol was followed for 45/60 patients. It appeared that out of the 41 patients in group 1 (target INR ≤ 1.5), 35 (85%) achieved the goal INR. This occurred more often than for the 19 patients in group 2 (target INR 1.6–2.1), where only 6 (32%) achieved the goal INR. Using the protocol resulted in a positive trend toward better INR reversal in group 1.
In group 2, no relation between using the protocol and achieving the desired INR value was detected. Physicians ignoring the proposed dose of Co-fact© prescribed significantly less Co-fact© (even when correcting for patient weight). It appeared that patients in group 1 had a significantly lower baseline INR than patients in group 2. Group 2 patients, on the other hand, had a baseline INR > 7.5 in 53% of the cases.
In our cohort, for most patients in INR group 2 treated with Co-fact©, the achieved INR value was outside the desired range of 1.6-2.1. The supra-therapeutic range of baseline INR in group 2 may have contributed to the different kind of bleeding witnessed in this patient group.
Our results support the idea that treatment of patients on vitamin K antagonists with Co-fact© could benefit from a slightly different approach, taking into account the INR value to which the patient needs to be reversed.
PMCID: PMC3655866  PMID: 23663356
19.  Prothrombin complex concentrates and a specific antidote to dabigatran are effective ex-vivo in reversing the effects of dabigatran in an anticoagulation/liver trauma experimental model 
Critical Care  2014;18(1):R27.
New oral anticoagulants are effective alternatives to warfarin. However, no specific reversal agents are available for life-threatening bleeding or emergency surgery. Using a porcine model of trauma, this study assessed the ability of prothrombin complex concentrate (PCC), activated PCC (aPCC), recombinant FVIIa (rFVIIa) and a specific antidote to dabigatran (aDabi-Fab) to reverse the anticoagulant effects of dabigatran.
Dabigatran etexilate (DE) was given orally for 3 days (30 mg/kg bid) and intravenously on day 4 to achieve consistent, supratherapeutic concentrations of dabigatran. Blood samples were collected at baseline, after oral DE, after intravenous dabigatran, and 60 minutes post-injury. PCC (30 and 60 U/kg), aPCC (30 and 60 U/kg), rFVIIa (90 and 180 μg/kg) and antidote (60 and 120 mg/kg) were added to blood samples ex-vivo. Coagulation was assessed by thromboelastometry, global coagulation assays and diluted thrombin time.
Plasma concentrations of dabigatran were 380 ± 106 ng/ml and 1423 ± 432 ng/ml after oral and intravenous administration, respectively, and all coagulation parameters were affected by dabigatran. Both PCCs and aDabi-Fab, but not rFVIIa, reversed the effects of dabigatran on thromboelastometry parameters and prothrombin time. In contrast, aPTT was only normalised by aDabi-Fab. Plasma concentration (activity) of dabigatran remained elevated after PCC and rFVIIa therapy, but was not measureable after aDabi-Fab.
In conclusion, PCC and aPCC were effective in reducing the anticoagulant effects of dabigatran under different conditions, while aDabi-Fab fully corrected all coagulation measures and decreased the plasma concentration of dabigatran below the limit of detection. No significant effects were observed with rFVIIa.
PMCID: PMC4059479  PMID: 24499559
20.  Correlation between International Normalized Ratio values and sufficiency of two different local hemostatic measures in anticoagulated patients 
European Journal of Dentistry  2014;8(4):475-480.
The management of patients receiving oral anticoagulant therapy (OAT) undergoing minor oral surgeries is controversial. This study was designed to evaluate the correlation between International Normalized Ratio (INR) values and the sufficiency of two different local hemostatic measures in controlling postextraction bleeding in anticoagulated patients.
Materials and Methods:
One hundred and sixty patients receiving Warfarin OAT were included in this study. Patients were selected so that 80 patients have INR values of ≤2, whereas the remaining patients have the INR values ranging from 2 to 3. Forty patients were then randomly selected from each category to form two equal groups. Forty-five patients who had never been on OAT were selected as a negative control group (group 1). Failure to achieve hemostasis using a pressure pack was managed using either tranexamic acid (group 2) or Ankaferd Blood Stopper (ABS) (group 3).
The INR values of patients included in group 2 and 3 ranged from 1.5 to 3, with a mean of 2.2. No significant difference was recorded between the use of either tranexamic acid or ABS in achieving hemostasis in anticoagulated patients with INR values ranging between 2 and 3 (P = 0.93).
Based on our findings, ABS is a hemostatic agent of good efficacy. The effect of ABS in controlling post-extraction bleeding in anticoagulated patients with INR values ≤3 is comparable to tranexamic acid with no evidence to support the superiority of tranexamic acid over ABS.
PMCID: PMC4253102  PMID: 25512727
Gel foam; postextraction bleeding; tranexamic acid; warfarin; ankaferd
21.  A non-experimental study of oral anticoagulation therapy initiation before and after national patient safety goals 
BMJ Open  2014;4(2):e003960.
The Joint Commission revised its National Patient Safety Goals (NPSGs) to include oral anticoagulation therapy (OAT) in 2008. We sought to examine the effect of including OAT in The Joint Commission's NPSGs on historically low rates of OAT initiation for individuals with incident atrial fibrillation (AF).
Southeastern state in the USA.
North Carolina State Health Plan claims data from 944 500 individuals enrolled between 1 January 2006 and 31 December 2010, supplemented with data from the Area Resource File and Online Survey, Certification and Reporting data network. We evaluated OAT initiation before and after the 2008 NPSGs revisions in a retrospective cohort new user design with an AF intervention group and two control groups: a positive control—patients estimated to be at very high risk of thromboembolism (mechanical heart valve and pulmonary embolism); and a negative control—patients with very low perceived risk of thromboembolism (paroxysmal AF). We developed multivariable models using a difference-in-difference parameterisation. Effects were estimated with generalised estimating equations.
Primary outcome measure
OAT initiation, a binary outcome defined as having a prescription drug claim for warfarin within 30 days of the index claim.
OAT initiation was low (26.8%) for eligible individuals with incident AF in 2006–2008 but increased after NPSGs implementation (31.7%, p=0.022). OAT initiation was high but decreased in the positive control group (67.5% vs 62.0%, p=0.003). Multivariate analysis resulted in a relative 11% (95% CI (4% to 18%), p<0.01) increase in OAT initiation for incident AF patients.
We document a substantial increase in guideline concordant OAT initiation in incident AF after the establishment of NPSGs, suggesting that regulatory healthcare agency initiatives can influence clinical practice.
PMCID: PMC3927813  PMID: 24525389
22.  Patients' perspectives on self-testing of oral anticoagulation therapy: Content analysis of patients' internet blogs 
Patients on oral anticoagulant therapy (OAT) require regular testing of the prothrombin time (PT) and the international normalised ratio (INR) to monitor their blood coagulation level to avoid complications of either over or under coagulation. PT/INR can be tested by a healthcare professional or by the patient. The latter mode of the testing is known as patient self-testing or home testing. The objective of this study was to elicit patients' perspectives and experiences regarding PT/INR self-testing using portable coagulometer devices.
Internet blog text mining was used to collect 246 blog postings by 108 patients, mainly from the USA and the UK. The content of these qualitative data were analysed using XSight and NVivo software packages.
The key themes in relation to self-testing of OAT identified were as follows: Patient benefits reported were time saved, personal control, choice, travel reduction, cheaper testing, and peace of mind. Equipment issues included high costs, reliability, quality, and learning how to use the device. PT/INR issues focused on the frequency of testing, INR fluctuations and individual target (therapeutic) INR level. Other themes noted were INR testing at laboratories, the interactions with healthcare professionals in managing and testing OAT and insurance companies' involvement in acquiring the self-testing equipment. Social issues included the pain and stress of taking and testing for OAT.
Patients' blogs on PT/INR testing provide insightful information that can help in understanding the nature of the experiences and perspectives of patients on self-testing of OAT. The themes identified in this paper highlight the substantial complexities involved in self-testing programmes in the healthcare system. Thus, the issues elicited in this study are very valuable for all stakeholders involved in developing effective self-testing strategies in healthcare that are gaining considerable current momentum particularly for patients with chronic illness.
PMCID: PMC3045880  PMID: 21291542
23.  Management of the Bleeding Patient Receiving New Oral Anticoagulants: A Role for Prothrombin Complex Concentrates 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:583794.
Ease of dosing and simplicity of monitoring make new oral anticoagulants an attractive therapy in a growing range of clinical conditions. However, newer oral anticoagulants interact with the coagulation cascade in different ways than traditional warfarin therapy. Replacement of clotting factors will not reverse the effects of dabigatran, rivaroxaban, or apixaban. Currently, antidotes for these drugs are not widely available. Fortunately, withholding the anticoagulant and dialysis are freqnently effective treatments, particularly with rivaroxaban and dabigatran. Emergent bleeding, however, requires utilization of Prothrombin Complex Concentrates (PCCs). PCCs, in addition to recombinant factor VIIa, are used to activate the clotting system to reverse the effects of the new oral anticoagulants. In cases of refractory or emergent bleeding, the recommended factor concentrate in our protocols differs between the new oral anticoagulants. In patients taking dabigatran, we administer an activated PCC (aPCC) [FELBA] due to reported benefit in human in vitro studies. Based on human clinical trial evidence, the 4-factor PCC (Kcentra) is suggested for patients with refractory rivaroxaban- or apixaban-associated hemorrhage. If bleeding continues, recombinant factor VIIa may be employed. With all of these new procoagulant agents, the risk of thrombosis associated with administration of factor concentrates must be weighed against the relative risk of hemorrhage.
PMCID: PMC4127295  PMID: 25136597
24.  Clinical review: Prothrombin complex concentrates - evaluation of safety and thrombogenicity 
Critical Care  2011;15(1):201.
Prothrombin complex concentrates (PCCs) are used mainly for emergency reversal of vitamin K antagonist therapy. Historically, the major drawback with PCCs has been the risk of thrombotic complications. The aims of the present review are to examine thrombotic complications reported with PCCs, and to compare the safety of PCCs with human fresh frozen plasma. The risk of thrombotic complications may be increased by underlying disease, high or frequent PCC dosing, and poorly balanced PCC constituents. The causes of PCC thrombogenicity remain uncertain but accumulating evidence indicates the importance of factor II (prothrombin). With the inclusion of coagulation inhibitors and other manufacturing improvements, today's PCCs may be considered safer than earlier products. PCCs may be considered preferable to fresh frozen plasma for emergency anticoagulant reversal, and this is reflected in the latest British and American guidelines. Care should be taken to avoid excessive substitution with prothrombin, however, and accurate monitoring of patients' coagulation status may allow thrombotic risk to be reduced. The risk of a thrombotic complication due to treatment with PCCs should be weighed against the need for rapid and effective correction of coagulopathy.
PMCID: PMC3222012  PMID: 21345266
25.  A sensitivity comparison of the Quick and Owren prothrombin time methods in oral anticoagulant therapy 
Hematology Reviews  2009;1(2):e15.
Prothrombin time (PT) is the leading test for monitoring oral anticoagulation therapy (OAT). According to the World Health Organization recommendation, International Normalized Ratio (INR) results obtained from the same patient samples with the major PT methods (Quick and Owren) should be the same when the therapeutic range is the same. In our study blood samples were obtained from 207 OAT patients. We analyzed the samples using two Quick and two Owren PT (combined thromboplastin) reagents for INR and assessed the sensitivity and true coagulation activity using a new-generation PT method. The INR values with the Quick PT and Owren PT methods were very similar around the normal range, while unacceptable differences were seen within the therapeutic range and at higher INR values. The Quick PT results as INR are clearly lower than those given by Owren PT and the difference increases toward higher INR. The new PT method functions well with both Owren PT reagents, and we can calculate the true active INR. The Quick PT methods show no sensitivity to coagulation inhibition measurement. The harmonization of the INR is an important goal for the safety of OAT patients. More accurate INR results reduce morbidity and mortality, and the therapeutic ranges should be similar worldwide. In this study we found unacceptable differences in INR results produced by the two PT methods. The new method showed a lack of sensitivity to Quick PT. For the global harmonization of OAT therapy and for INR accuracy only the more sensitive Owren PT method should be used.
PMCID: PMC3222250
International Normalized Ratio; oral anticoagulant therapy; prothrombin time; warfarin.

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