Reversing Dabigatran in Life-Threatening Bleeding Occurring During Cardiac Ablation With Factor Eight Inhibitor Bypassing Activity

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We report a case of a patient receiving dabigatran who developed a life-threatening bleeding complication during cardiac ablation that rapidly resolved after administration of Factor Eight Inhibitor Bypassing Activity (FEIBA).


Therapeutic anticoagulation with warfarin during cardiac ablation has been shown to reduce the risk of stroke and systemic embolism. Cardiac tamponade is a potentially life-threatening procedural complication requiring emergent reversal of anticoagulation and pericardiocentesis. Dabigatran is superior to warfarin in preventing stroke and systemic embolism in nonvalvular atrial fibrillation, but has not been evaluated for use during cardiac ablation. Dabigatran is without a known reversal agent and, should tamponade occur during ablation, it is unclear what reversal strategy could be used to establish hemostasis.

Methods and Results:

A 67-year-old man with history of atrial fibrillation with rapid ventricular rate, two previous atrial fibrillation ablations, and prescribed dabigatran 150 mg bid was admitted for an atrial fibrillation ablation procedure. The last dabigatran dose was 7 hours prior to procedure. During the procedure, a transseptal perforation occurred, requiring an emergent pericardiocentesis. Within 60 minutes, approximately 4.5 L of blood was removed via the pericardiocentesis. Low-dose FEIBA (3159 units, 26 U/kg actual body weight) over 15 minutes was administered. Hemostasis was noted within minutes of initiating the infusion with cessation of bleeding after administration was complete.


This case report describes the potential ability of a low dose of the activated prothrombin complex concentrate, FEIBA, to reestablish hemostasis independent of the pharmacologic effects of dabigatran. Additional studies are warranted to confirm the findings of our observation.

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