The Dilemma of Resuming Antithrombotic Therapy After Intracranial Hemorrhage in Patients With Left Ventricular Assist Devices

Abstract

Background/Objective

Antithrombotic therapy is administered after left ventricular assist device (LVAD) implantation to prevent thromboembolic events. Intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) is a life-threatening adverse event requiring immediate discontinuation of antithrombotics. We investigated the timing of antithrombotic resumption after ICH in patients with LVADs and the association between timing and risk of recurrent hemorrhage and thrombotic events.

Methods

We performed a multicenter, retrospective analysis of patients with ICH occurrence during LVAD antithrombotic regimen with subsequent resumption of antithrombotics from January 1, 2010, to December 31, 2017. Covariates included age, international normalized ratio, antithrombotic dosing, timing of resumption, modified Rankin score, and subsequent hemorrhagic and thrombotic events within 1 year post-ICH. Patients who did not resume anticoagulation were excluded.

Results

Of 673 patients with LVADs, 85 (12.6%) developed ICH while being treated with antithrombotics. Forty-three were excluded due to death prior to resumption and one due to lack of resumption. The remaining 41 patients were on antithrombotics with a median (interquartile range [IQR]) international normalized ratio at ICH onset of 2.6 (1.8–3.6). Aspirin and warfarin were resumed at a median (IQR) of 5.5 (1.3–8.8) and 6.5 (4.0–15.5) days post-ICH, respectively. A continuous unfractionated heparin infusion was initiated in 16 (39.0%) patients at a median (IQR) of 2.5 (1.0–7.8) days post-ICH. During the 1-year follow-up after anticoagulation resumption, 11 (26.8%) patients suffered secondary hemorrhages and two (4.9%) suffered secondary thrombotic events. Using Kaplan–Meier method and log-rank test, we compared all patients who resumed anticoagulation by 6 days post-ICH to those who resumed after 6 days. There was no difference in freedom from secondary hemorrhagic event between the two groups (P = 0.75).

Conclusion

Despite timing of resumption of antithrombotic therapy after ICH, recurrent hemorrhagic events can be expected in one-quarter of these patients over the subsequent year.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Alison Dowdell for her administrative assistance with manuscript review and formatting.

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Contributions

CDS contributed to conception and design; collection, analysis, and interpretation of the data; drafting and critical revision of the manuscript; and generation of the figures. NLM contributed to conception and design; collection, analysis, and interpretation of the data; and drafting and critical revision of the manuscript. RA contributed to collection, analysis, and interpretation of the data and drafting and critical revision of the manuscript. SD contributed to collection, analysis, and interpretation of the data and drafting and critical revision of the manuscript. AAR contributed to collection, analysis, and interpretation of the data and drafting and critical revision of the manuscript. CBO contributed to collection, analysis, and interpretation of the data and drafting and critical revision of the manuscript. ZL contributed to analysis and interpretation of the data, drafting and critical revision of the manuscript, and generation of the figures. WDF contributed to conception and design, analysis and interpretation of the data, and drafting and critical revision of the manuscript. All authors approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Christan D. Santos.

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This study was performed after IRB approval.

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Santos, C.D., Matos, N.L., Asleh, R. et al. The Dilemma of Resuming Antithrombotic Therapy After Intracranial Hemorrhage in Patients With Left Ventricular Assist Devices. Neurocrit Care 32, 822–827 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12028-019-00836-y

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Keywords

  • Anticoagulants
  • Antithrombotics
  • Brain hemorrhage
  • Intracranial hemorrhage
  • Ventricular assist device
  • Thrombosis