Introduction: Patients treated with direct Xa inhibitors may require an urgent surgery. A reversal agent for Xa inhibitors was recently approved for major bleeding but not prior to urgent surgery. Administration of prothrombin complex concentrate (PCC) in this setting is a common practice; however, it is based on limited experience in healthy volunteers.

Objective: To characterize the population receiving PCC for apixaban/rivaroxaban reversal prior to an urgent surgery/procecdure and evaluate its efficacy and safety.

Methods: A retrospective study in two tertiary hospitals. Bleeding was evaluated by surgical reports, hemoglobin drop and use of packed red blood cells or additional PCC during 48h. Safety measures were thrombotic complications and 30-day mortality.

Results: Sixty-two patients, aged 80.7±9, received PCC prior to urgent invasive procedures ;39 (63%) received apixaban and 23( 37%) rivaroxaban. Ninety percent of them received anticoagulation due to atrial fibrillation. Most urgent procedures were abdominal surgery (61%), orthopedic surgery (13%) or transhepatic cholecystostomy insertion (10%). Mean dose of PCC was 26.6±8 U/kg. Fourteen patients (23%) received 1 gram of tranexamic acid. Bleeding was reported by surgeons in 3(5%) patients and no patient required additional PCC. Sixteen (26%) patients received packed cells (median 1 unit, range 1-5). Thirty day mortality and thrombosis were 13(21%) and 2(3%) respectively. Cause of death was related to the primary disease or sepsis. No patient died due to bleeding/thrombosis.

Conclusions: PCC is safe and effective for the reversal of Xa inhibitors prior to an urgent surgery/procedure.


No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.