NOACs in Anesthesiology

Transfus Med Hemother. 2019 Aug;46(4):282-293. doi: 10.1159/000491400. Epub 2019 Jan 29.


Background: Due to increasing use of new oral anticoagulants (NOACs), clinicians are faced more and more frequently with clinical issues related to these drugs.

Objective: The objective of this publication is to make practical suggestions for the perioperative management of NOACs as well as for their handling in overdoses and bleedings.

Recommendations: In elective surgery and creatinine clearance ≥ 50 ml/min, a NOAC should be discontinued 24-36 h before the intervention, and even earlier in case of reduced kidney function. In emergency interventions that cannot be delayed, the management is dependent on the NOAC plasma levels. With levels ≤ 30 ng/ml, surgery can be performed. With levels >30 ng/ml, reversal agents should be considered. In low bleeding risk surgery, NOACs can be re-started 24 h after the intervention, which is prolonged to 48-72 h after surgery with high bleeding risk. In case of NOAC overdose and minor bleedings, temporary discontinuation and supportive care are usually sufficient to control the situation. In severe or life-threatening bleedings, nonspecific and specific reversal agents should be considered.

Keywords: Anesthesiology; Direct oral anticoagulants; New oral anticoagulants; Thrombin inhibitor; Xa antagonist.

Publication types

  • Review