Prothrombin complex concentrate accelerates international normalized ratio reversal and diminishes the extension of intracranial hemorrhage in geriatric trauma patients

Am Surg. 2014 Apr;80(4):372-6.


Warfarin therapy increases the incidence intracranial hemorrhage (ICH), especially in the geriatric population. Timely reversal of international normalized ratio (INR) is integral in the management of these patients for whom fresh frozen plasma (FFP) with vitamin K is the standard of treatment. We hypothesized that implementing a protocol that used prothrombin complex concentrate (PCC) would reverse INR values more swiftly and decrease the amount of FFP administered. In November 2011, a protocol was implemented for administering PCC to the geriatric population on warfarin admitted for life-threatening bleeds. These patients received 25 IU/kg ideal body weight of a three-factor PCC (Profilnine SD) if their INR was over 1.5 or greater. FFP was given if follow-up INR revealed an INR of 1.5 or greater. Retrospectively the data from 29 patients who received PCC were compared with a historical control group of 34 patients. Protocol use resulted in a significantly faster INR reversal (PCC: 151.6 ± 84.3 minutes vs control: 485.0 ± 321 minutes; P < 0.001), time to achieve an INR less than 1.5 (PCC: 484 ± 242 minutes vs control: 971 ± 1208 minutes; P = 0.036), and less FFP administered (PCC: 1.3 ± 1.0 vs control:3.3 ± 1.5; P < 0.001). PCC patients had a decreased incidence of progression of their ICH (PCC: 17.2% vs control: 44.2%; P = 0.031). Rapid reversal of coagulopathy in geriatric patients on warfarin is vital to limit the extent of ICH. PCC allows a much more rapid reversal than standard treatment with only FFP and vitamin K. Adopting such a protocol is associated not only with a more rapid reversal and less FFP use, but also less patients went on to extend their head bleeds.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anticoagulants / adverse effects
  • Blood Coagulation Disorders / chemically induced*
  • Blood Coagulation Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Blood Coagulation Factors / therapeutic use*
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / complications*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • International Normalized Ratio*
  • Intracranial Hemorrhages / etiology*
  • Intracranial Hemorrhages / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Pennsylvania
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Trauma Centers
  • Warfarin / adverse effects


  • Anticoagulants
  • Blood Coagulation Factors
  • prothrombin complex concentrates
  • Warfarin