Use and effectiveness of prothrombin complex concentrates vs fresh frozen plasma in gastrointestinal hemorrhage due to warfarin usage in the ED

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High International Normalized Ratio (INR) level resulting from warfarin use increases the risk of gastrointestinal hemorrhages. We aimed to compare the efficacy of prothrombin complex concentrates (PCC) and fresh frozen plasma (FFP) at lowering the INR level, decreasing active hemorrhages visible by endoscopy, and shortening the length of stay at the emergency department (ED).


This study is a prospective cohort study of consecutive patents with gastrointestinal hemorrhages that received either PCC or FFP. With strict exclusion criteria, only patients over 18 years of age with a high INR level (>2.1) due to warfarin usage were included.


A total of 40 patients (18 female) were included in the study, 20 each in the PCC and FFP groups. For the PCC group, the mean INR levels at the second and sixth hours were lower than those for the FFP group (second hour INR: 1.53 vs 4.50, P < .01, sixth hour INR: 1.52 vs 2.41, P < .01). Seven patients experienced active bleeding (Forrest 1) in the FFP group, whereas no patient experienced active bleeding in the PCC group based on the Forrest classification (35% vs 0%, P < .01), and only 3 patients in the FFP group underwent invasive/surgical treatment (15% vs 0%, P < .01). The ED length of stay was lower for the PCC group (1.62 days vs 3.46 days, P < .01).


For patients experiencing a gastrointestinal hemorrhage, INR levels were reversed more quickly, there was less active bleeding on endoscopy, and the ED length of stay was lower in the PCC group than in the FFP group.

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