Scoring Systems for Estimating the Risk of Anticoagulant-Associated Bleeding

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Abstract

Anticoagulant medications are frequently used to prevent and treat thromboembolic disease. However, the benefits of anticoagulants must be balanced with a careful assessment of the risk of bleeding complications that can ensue from their use. Several bleeding risk scores are available, including the Outpatient Bleeding Risk Index, HAS-BLED, ATRIA, and HEMORR2 HAGES risk assessment tools, and can be used to help estimate patients’ risk for bleeding on anticoagulants. These tools vary by their individual risk components and in how they define and weigh clinical factors. However, it is not yet clear how best to integrate bleeding risk tools into clinical practice. Current bleeding risk scores generally have modest predictive ability and limited ability to predict the most devastating complication of anticoagulation, intracranial hemorrhage. In clinical practice, bleeding risk tools should be paired with a formal determination of thrombosis risk, as their results may be most influential for patients at the lower end of thrombosis risk, as well as for highlighting potentially modifiable risk factors for bleeding. Use of bleeding risk scores may assist clinicians and patients in making informed and individualized anticoagulation decisions.

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