Hemodialysis for the treatment of pulmonary hemorrhage from dabigatran overdose

Betty C. Chen, Nijal R. Sheth, Kobena A. Dadzie, Silas W. Smith, Lewis S. Nelson, Robert S. Hoffman, James F. Winchester

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Dabigatran is an oral direct thrombin inhibitor indicated for thromboembolism prophylaxis in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation. Since its approval in the United States in 2010, dabigatran-associated hemorrhages have garnered much attention because bleeding rates were higher than initially expected. Additionally, reversing anticoagulation remains challenging. Traditional modes of reversing warfarin-associated coagulopathies are ineffective in reversing anticoagulation from dabigatran. Although hemodialysis is proposed as a method to accelerate dabigatran elimination, evidence supporting its clinical utility remains unproved. We report the case of an 80-year-old man who presented with worsening hemoptysis in the setting of unintentional ingestion of excess dabigatran. Despite transfusion of 2 units of fresh frozen plasma, he continued to bleed, although his international normalized ratio improved from 8.8 to 7.2. He underwent hemodialysis, and serum dabigatran concentration decreased from 1,100 to 18 ng/mL over 4 hours, with an initial extraction ratio of 0.97 and blood clearance of 291 mL/min. Although his serum dabigatran concentration rebounded to 100 ng/mL 20 minutes after the cessation of dialysis, his bleeding stopped and he improved clinically. Hemorrhage in the setting of dabigatran anticoagulation remains a therapeutic predicament. Hemodialysis may play an adjunct role in accelerating the elimination of dabigatran in bleeding patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)591-594
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Kidney Diseases
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Dabigatran
  • Pradaxa
  • dialysis
  • overdose


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