Bridging of oral anticoagulation therapy for invasive procedures.

Alex C. Spyropoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The management of patients who need temporary interruption of chronic oral anticoagulant (OAC) therapy for an elective surgical or invasive procedure is problematic and complex. Patient and procedural risk factors for thrombosis and bleeding, anticoagulant-related risks of bleeding, and clinical consequences of a thrombotic or bleeding event need to be assessed and properly risk-stratified in the perioperative period. Certain procedures, such as dental, endoscopic, and cutaneous procedures, can be completed without discontinuing OAC, but most procedures with a high bleeding risk (including major surgeries) will necessitate temporary discontinuation of OAC. Bridging therapy with shorter-acting anticoagulants, such as heparin, for patients at intermediate to high risk of thromboembolism represents one strategy to maintain functional anticoagulation during this period. Large, prospective cohort studies and registries of patients on chronic OAC who underwent bridging therapy mostly with low-molecular-weight heparin have been completed recently. This paper reviews these clinical data on bridging therapy and provides an evidence-based perioperative management strategy for the at-risk patient on chronic OAC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-413
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent hematology reports
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2005
Externally publishedYes


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