Intravenous Fat Emulsion Does Not Significantly Alter Clotting Markers in Dabigatran-Treated Blood


Dabigatran etexilate is an oral direct thrombin (Factor IIa) inhibitor approved for patients with atrial fibrillation and for management of risk of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. Dabigatran offers advantages over treatment with warfarin, including limited laboratory monitoring. It is equivalent in prevention of stroke and deep vein thrombosis with essentially equivalent complication rates. In contrast to warfarin, reversal of the anticoagulation is less well established. Idarucizumab is available for reversal, however supporting research is mixed; the agent also happens to be quite expensive making availability difficult. Hemodialysis has been proposed as a method of reversal, but this is difficult in patients with life threatening hemorrhage, and is not available at many hospitals. Intravenous fat emulsion (IFE) has been used for treatment of overdose of lipophilic drugs. Most toxicologists only recommend IFE for patients in extremis after ingestion of a lipid soluble substance. Dabigatran is lipid soluble, although the pro-drug more so than the active metabolite. The authors sought to see if dabigatran-induced coagulopathy of human in vitro blood samples could be reversed with IFE. Blood samples were spiked with dabigatran or dabigatran plus IFE. Values for Ecarin clot time (ECT—primary outcome), PT/INR, and aPTT, were compared across both study arms. A total of 18 healthy volunteers were included in our study. There were no significant differences in the ECT, PT/INR, and aPTT between the dabigatran arm and the dabigatran plus IFE arm. Based on these methods, IFE does not reverse dabigatran-induced coagulopathy.

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Dr. Kristin Engebretsen, PharmD, passed away during the completion of this project. She was an exemplary pharmacist, toxicologist, clinician, researcher, and writer. She will be missed dearly.


This study was funded through a HealthPartners Research Institute Internal Discovery Grant No. A12-096.

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Correspondence to Samuel J. Stellpflug.

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Stellpflug, S.J., Bond, M.E., Henry, K.D. et al. Intravenous Fat Emulsion Does Not Significantly Alter Clotting Markers in Dabigatran-Treated Blood. Indian J Hematol Blood Transfus (2020).

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  • Lipid
  • Intralipid
  • Coagulopathy
  • Antidote
  • Bleeding
  • DOAC
  • IFE