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BACKGROUND: Bleeding is a serious adverse effect of vitamin K antagonists (VKAs). Anticoagulation reversal is required in some acute cases. This is usually accomplished by plasma transfusion or four-factor prothrombin complex concentrate (4F-PCC). The aim of this study was to gain insight into the clinical course of patients with gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding who require VKA reversal.

METHODS: Medical records were collected from two centers from patients who presented to the emergency department (ED) for GI bleeding and received 4F-PCC or plasma for VKA reversal between January 2015 and December 2020. ED, hospital, intensive care unit (ICU) length of stay (LOS) as well as time from admission to GI procedure were determined.

RESULTS: 4F-PCC patients (n = 49) as compared to plasma (n = 63) patients were found to have a greater number of comorbidities (average of 4.2 vs. 2.7 comorbidities/patient) and more ICU admissions (47% vs. 21%). Time to GI procedure was significantly decreased in the 4F-PCC group (median (interquartile range (IQR)) 19.47 (9.23 - 30.25) vs. 27.88 (21.38 - 45.00) h; P = 0.01). When adjusting for comorbidities, differences in time to GI procedures were also significant in favor of 4F-PCC regardless of any comorbidities (P = 0.014), in atrial fibrillation (P = 0.045) and in hypertension (P = 0.02). The 4F-PCC patients had shorter LOS in the ED and ICU.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study demonstrated that compared to plasma, 4F-PCC was utilized in more acutely ill patients with higher rates of comorbidities and ICU admission. Nevertheless, the patients who received 4F-PCC had faster access to GI procedure and shorter ED and ICU LOS.