Can an anti-Xa assay for low-molecular-weight heparin be used to assess the presence of rivaroxaban?

Transfus Apher Sci. 2016 Oct;55(2):212-215. doi: 10.1016/j.transci.2016.06.005. Epub 2016 Jun 27.


Background: Due to the convenience afforded by the lack of required laboratory monitoring, direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) are increasingly used as alternatives to Vitamin-K antagonists for certain medical conditions. However, there are circumstances in which assessment of DOAC plasma concentrations may be helpful in guiding clinical decisions, including patients presenting with either bleeding or thrombosis, or patients requiring urgent invasive procedures. Evaluating the anticoagulant effects of DOACs is often difficult because of the limited availability of DOAC-specific assays in most laboratories.

Objective: To evaluate the correlation between ex vivo plasma concentrations of rivaroxaban and a chromogenic anti-Xa assay for low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) routinely used in our coagulation laboratory.

Materials and methods: Twenty-nine blood samples from 20 patients anticoagulated with rivaroxaban (dose; 10-20 mg/day) were evaluated using an anti-Xa assay for LMWH and results were correlated with rivaroxaban plasma concentrations using a rivaroxaban specific assay.

Results: A linear dose-dependent relationship was demonstrated between plasma concentrations of rivaroxaban and the chromogenic anti-Xa assay for LMWH (R2 = 0.92). PT and PTT demonstrated poor correlations (R2 = 0.03; and R2 = 0.01, respectively) with rivaroxaban plasma concentrations.

Conclusion: Findings from this study suggest that if specific assays for rivaroxaban are unavailable, then the chromogenic anti-Xa assay for LMWH may be useful for assessing the anticoagulant effects of rivaroxaban.

Keywords: Anti-Xa; Direct oral anticoagulants; Laboratory; Low-molecular weight heparin; Rivaroxaban.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Blood Coagulation Tests / methods
  • Factor Xa / metabolism*
  • Factor Xa Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Factor Xa Inhibitors / pharmacokinetics*
  • Female
  • Heparin, Low-Molecular-Weight / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Rivaroxaban / administration & dosage
  • Rivaroxaban / pharmacokinetics*


  • Factor Xa Inhibitors
  • Heparin, Low-Molecular-Weight
  • Rivaroxaban
  • Factor Xa