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Perioperative management of patients with atrial fibrillation receiving anticoagulant therapy

Abstract

The number of patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) and the number of patients indicated for anticoagulant therapy have been increasing because AF would affect patient survival due to thromboembolism. Once AF develops, following the disappearance of pulsation, the circumstances within the atrium become prothrombotic and thrombus formation within the left atrium occurs in patients with AF. In recent years, not only warfarin but also new oral anticoagulants were introduced clinically and have become used as oral anticoagulants. In the perioperative period, the risk of major hemorrhage needs to be reduced. On the other hand, the suspension of anticoagulant therapy and neutralization of anticoagulant effects elevate the risk of thrombosis. The perioperative management of patients receiving anticoagulant therapy is different from that of scheduled surgery and emergency surgery. In addition, knowledge of the characteristics of each oral anticoagulant is required at drug cessation and resumption. Unlike warfarin, which has been used in the past five decades, direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) do not have sensitive indicators such as prothrombin time-international normalized ratio. To avoid major hemorrhages and thromboembolism, quantitative assays can be implemented for DOAC monitoring and for reversal therapies in perioperative settings.

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Study conception and design: TO. Data acquisition: TO, KK, and YK. Drafting of the article: MK and SS. Critical revision of the article for important intellectual content: TO.

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Correspondence to Takeshi Omae.

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Omae, T., Koh, K., Kumemura, M. et al. Perioperative management of patients with atrial fibrillation receiving anticoagulant therapy. J Anesth 33, 551–561 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00540-019-02653-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00540-019-02653-1

Keywords

  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Direct oral anticoagulants
  • Hemorrhage
  • Scheduled and emergency surgery
  • Thromboembolism