Background: Dabigatran reduces ischemic stroke in comparison with warfarin; however, given the lack of antidote, there is concern that it might increase bleeding when surgery or invasive procedures are required.
Methods and results: The current analysis was undertaken to compare the periprocedural bleeding risk of patients in the Randomized Evaluation of Long-Term Anticoagulation Therapy (RE-LY) trial treated with dabigatran and warfarin. Bleeding rates were evaluated from 7 days before until 30 days after invasive procedures, considering only the first procedure for each patient. A total of 4591 patients underwent at least 1 invasive procedure: 24.7% of patients received dabigatran 110 mg, 25.4% received dabigatran 150 mg, and 25.9% received warfarin, P=0.34. Procedures included: pacemaker/defibrillator insertion (10.3%), dental procedures (10.0%), diagnostic procedures (10.0%), cataract removal (9.3%), colonoscopy (8.6%), and joint replacement (6.2%). Among patients assigned to either dabigatran dose, the last dose of study drug was given 49 (35-85) hours before the procedure on comparison with 114 (87-144) hours in patients receiving warfarin, P<0.001. There was no significant difference in the rates of periprocedural major bleeding between patients receiving dabigatran 110 mg (3.8%) or dabigatran 150 mg (5.1%) or warfarin (4.6%); dabigatran 110 mg versus warfarin: relative risk, 0.83; 95% CI, 0.59 to 1.17; P=0.28; dabigatran 150 mg versus warfarin: relative risk, 1.09; 95% CI, 0.80 to 1.49; P=0.58. Among patients having urgent surgery, major bleeding occurred in 17.8% with dabigatran 110 mg, 17.7% with dabigatran 150 mg, and 21.6% with warfarin: dabigatran 110 mg; relative risk, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.48 to 1.41; P=0.47; dabigatran 150 mg: relative risk, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.50 to 1.35; P=0.44.
Conclusions: Dabigatran and warfarin were associated with similar rates of periprocedural bleeding, including patients having urgent surgery. Dabigatran facilitated a shorter interruption of oral anticoagulation.
Clinical trial registration: URL: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT00262600.