Update on perioperative bridging in patients on chronic oral anticoagulation

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Oral anticoagulation (OAC) with vitamin K antagonists is commonly used for long-term prevention or treatment of arterial or venous thromboembolism. In the USA alone, approximately 250,000 patients will require temporary interruption of OAC annually. Managing anticoagulation in those patients on chronic OAC who require invasive procedures continues to be a major clinical dilemma. This article summarizes the existing evidence in light of the recommendations of the American College of Chest Physicians. Management of anticoagulation in the perioperative period will continue to be an important clinical challenge and an evolving area of research. If new oral anticoagulants are successful in replacing warfarin, the entire perioperative anticoagulation scene will change.

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