Introduction: The objective of this prospective audit was to compare two methods of anticoagulation reversal in the pre-operative period for hip fracture patients.
Patients and methods: In the first part of the audit, our current practice was analysed. Data relating to the number of days from admission to surgery and the reasons for delay to surgery were collected. Also, data concerning common reasons for which the patients were started on warfarin and the time required for INR to drop to 1.5 or below were collected. In the second part of the audit, 45 patients with INR above 1.5 were given a single dose of vitamin K (1 mg i.v.) in addition to stopping warfarin.
Results: The mean difference in the time for INR < 1.5 in the two groups was 2 days (52 h; P < 0.05). The mean difference in wait for surgery since admission between the two groups was 4 days (91 h; P < 0.05). There was no significant difference between the two groups as regards the average number of co-morbidities in the patient groups.
Conclusions: A single 1 mg intravenous dose of vitamin K significantly reduces the time for the reversal of INR and the pre-operative delay to surgery, in patients on long-term warfarin. We conclude that 1 mg of intravenous vitamin K on admission is a safe and effective treatment to avoid delay in the treatment in this group of patients.