The laboratory's 2015 perspective on direct oral anticoagulant testing

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The introduction of direct oral anticoagulant (DOAC) therapy into clinical use in the past 5 years has had significant impact on the clinical laboratory. Clinicians’ desire to determine plasma drug presence or measure drug concentration, and more recent observations regarding the limitations and utility of coagulation testing in the setting of DOAC treatment, suggest that early published recommendations regarding laboratory testing should be reassessed. These initial recommendations, furthermore, were often based on drug-spiked plasma studies, rather than samples from patients receiving DOAC therapy. We have demonstrated that reagent sensitivity varies significantly whether drug-spiked samples or samples from DOAC-treated patients are tested. Data from drug-enriched samples must therefore be interpreted with caution or be used as a guide only. We present laboratory assays that can be used to determine drug presence and to measure drug concentration, and provide recommended testing algorithms. As DOAC therapy may significantly impact on specialty coagulation assays, we review those tests with the potential to give false-positive and false-negative results.

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