Bleeding Complications in Warfarin-Treated Patients Admitted to the Emergency Department

J Clin Med Res. 2019 Feb;11(2):106-113. doi: 10.14740/jocmr3669. Epub 2019 Jan 5.


Background: Increased use of warfarin for the treatment and prophylaxis of many diseases has increased the frequency of adverse events. Emergency departments (EDs) are the first places where early interventions for bleeding and other complaints related to warfarin use are performed. This study assessed the characteristics of patients receiving warfarin and the risk factors for bleeding complication among those admitted to the ED.

Methods: Patients admitted to the ED for any reason other than trauma during a 1-year period were retrospectively reviewed. The study population consisted of 96 patients who had received warfarin and had an international normalized ratio (INR) ≥ 3. Patient demographics and medical history were recorded.

Results: The mean age of the patients (female, 52.1%) was 64.9 ± 14.5 years. Fatigue was the most common presenting complaint (61%). At least one major and/or minor bleeding event had occurred in 32 (33.3%) of the patients. Patients with (n = 32) and without (n = 64) bleeding complications did not significantly differ with respect to age, sex, reason for warfarin initiation, duration of warfarin use, concomitant diseases, and concurrent medications. There were also no significant differences in the distribution of patient admissions in terms of season at presentation, INR level, and weekly warfarin dose.

Conclusions: While the parameters evaluated in this study did not significantly differ among warfarin-treated patients, they may nonetheless pose a risk of bleeding. Further large-scale and long-term studies that take into account biological variation are required to precisely identify the risk factors for bleeding.

Keywords: Emergency department; International normalized ratio; Major bleeding event; Minor bleeding event; Warfarin-treated patients.