Factors associated with availability of anticoagulation reversal agents in rural and community emergency departments

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Abstract

Purpose.

Results of a study of anticoagulation reversal agent availability in rural and community hospital emergency departments (EDs) are reported.

Methods.

A cross-sectional telephone survey was conducted to test the hypothesis that anticoagulation reversal agents are not commonly stocked in low-volume EDs. In phase 1 of the study, a physician, pharmacist, or nurse manager at a sample of EDs in 1 state was surveyed to characterize anticoagulation reversal agent availability and the presence or absence of reversal protocols; in phase 2, follow-up qualitative interviews were conducted with hospital pharmacists selected by purposive sampling to identify barriers to availability.

Results.

Among the 103 EDs represented in the survey, 87 (84%) stocked fresh frozen plasma, 14 (14%) stocked 4-factor prothrombin complex concentrate (4F-PCC), and 2 (2%) stocked activated 4F-PCC. Forty-one EDs (40%) had a warfarin reversal protocol, but only 2 (2%) EDs had a protocol for direct oral anticoagulant reversal. ED volume and neurology coverage were significantly associated with reversal agent availability (p = 0.014) and warfarin protocol availability (p < 0.001). Identified factors contributing to reversal agent nonavailability were product cost, lack of knowledge of drug availability, and concerns about shelf life.

Conclusion.

An investigation of rural and community hospitals in 1 state revealed that the institutions rarely have specialized anticoagulation reversal drugs available. Cost and infrequency of utilization were 2 commonly cited reasons for reversal agent nonavailability.

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