Introduction: Total hip/knee replacement surgery (THR/TKR respectively) is associated with an increased risk of venous thromboembolism. Dabigatran is recommended as a thromboprophylactic agent post orthopaedic surgery. The aim of this study was to assess the post-operative (Day-1 and Day-2) effect of prophylactic Dabigatran on: the thrombin generation (TG) assay; prothrombin fragment 1.2 (F1.2); thrombin-antithrombin complexes (TAT); D-dimer (D-D); and other coagulation parameters. METHODS AND SAMPLES: Nineteen patients (12 THR, 7 TKR) who received 110 mg dabigatran 4 hours post-operatively, then 220 mg the following day, were recruited. Blood was collected: pre-operatively (Pre-); peri-operatively (Peri-); 19 hours after 110 mg dabigatran (Day-1); and 17 hours after 220 mg dabigatran (Day-2). The TG assay was measured using the Calibrated Automated Thrombogram and a low concentration of tissue factor. Other coagulation parameters measured included activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT), thrombin-time (TT), ecarin-clotting time (ECT) and Hemoclot tests.
Results: From Pre- to Peri-, ETP/peak-thrombin, F1.2, TAT and D-D increased significantly. From Peri- to Day-1 and Day-2: TAT reduced progressively; D-D increased; F1.2 did not change significantly; lag-time and time-to-peak prolonged; ETP/Peak-thrombin increased spuriously, due to Dabigatran interfering with the α-2 macroglobulin:thrombin complex in the TG assay. APTT, TT, ECT and Hemoclot increased progressively post-operatively; good correlations were seen between these tests.
Conclusion: The effect of dabigatran on the TG assay, showed a spurious increase in ETP and Peak-thrombin due to its interference with the TG assay. Dabigatran reduced TAT, but not F1.2, suggesting that thrombin was still being generated after surgery, but was blocked by Dabigatran.
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