Standardized use of novel oral anticoagulants plasma level thresholds in a new thrombolysis decision making protocol
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Acute ischemic stroke (AIS) patients receiving non-vitamin-K antagonist oral anticoagulants (NOAC) are commonly excluded from thrombolytic therapy, as interpretation of coagulation tests remains unclear. We aimed to investigate the applicability of a novel institutional protocol for thrombolysis based on current expert recommendations and NOAC specific coagulation assessment. We included hospitalized AIS patients receiving NOAC for at least 24 h and consecutive AIS patients not receiving NOAC into a prospective study. We performed standard coagulation tests and specific tests for dabigatran, rivaroxaban and apixaban plasma levels. We studied 65 patients: mean age 72 ± 13 years, 30 (46 %) male, median NIHSS score 3 (IQR 6). Fifteen (23 %) were on NOAC treatment (5 dabigatran, 5 rivaroxaban, and 5 apixaban, respectively) and 50 (77 %) were not. In patients without NOAC, dabigatran was not detectable (0 ng/ml), and plasma levels of rivaroxaban (median: 10.0 ng/ml, IQR 7.0) and apixaban (7.2 ng/ml, IQR 6.7) were below our lower thresholds that allow thrombolysis. In patients with dabigatran pre-treatment, trough levels (58.0 ng/ml, IQR 143.0) were below our upper threshold that would allow thrombolysis in 3/5 patients. In patients receiving rivaroxaban, trough level (68.0 ng/ml, IQR 64.0) was below our predefined upper thresholds that would allow thrombolysis in 4/5 patients. In all patients on apixaban, trough level was above our predefined threshold of 40 ng/ml that precludes thrombolysis (98.2 ng/ml, IQR 84.3). Predefined thresholds of NOAC plasma levels in the decision of thrombolysis in NOAC treated AIS patients might supplement routine coagulation tests and should be validated in a larger study population.
KeywordsAcute ischemic stroke Thrombolysis Novel oral anticoagulants
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