Acute Lower Gastrointestinal Bleeding in Patients Treated With Non-Vitamin K Antagonist Oral Anticoagulants Compared With Warfarin in Clinical Practice: Characteristics and Clinical Outcome

Georgia Diamantopoulou, Christos Konstantakis, George Skroubis, George Theocharis, Vasilios Theopistos, Christos Triantos, Konstantinos Thomopoulos


Background: Acute lower gastrointestinal bleeding (ALGIB) can occur in patients on anticoagulant therapy (either warfarin or non-vitamin K oral anticoagulants (NOACs)). Use of NOACs has been increasing compared to warfarin in recent years. We analyzed patients with ALGIB on anticoagulation therapy and compared characteristics, management and clinical outcome in patients treated with NOACs versus warfarin.

Methods: All patients with ALGIB on anticoagulation therapy treated in two (affiliated) centers during a 7-year period were evaluated. Characteristics and clinical outcome were compared between patients on warfarin and patients on NOACs.

Results: Out of the 587 patients identified with ALGIB during the study period, 43 (7.3%) were on NOACs and 68 (11.6%) on warfarin. Mean age was 75.9 9.5 and 77.1 7.9 years respectively. Site of bleeding was located in the small bowel in 2/43 of NOAC patients and 6/68 of warfarin group. Vascular ectasias (8/43 vs. 6/68, P = 0.010) and polyps/neoplasia (13/43 vs. 6/68, P = 0.025) were more commonly causes of bleeding in patients on NOACs. While endoscopic hemostasis was more commonly needed in patients on NOACs (17/43 vs. 14/68, P = 0.049), they required less hospitalization days (4.5 3.6 vs. 6.1 4.2, P = 0.032). Blood transfusions and need for other interventions (embolization and/or surgery) as well as recurrence of bleeding and mortality were not statistically different.

Conclusions: Although NOAC patients with ALGIB exhibit some differences on certain clinical characteristics when compared to warfarin patients, they share a similar clinical outcome.

Gastroenterol Res. 2019;12(1):21-26


Lower gastrointestinal bleeding; Anticoagulation; Warfarin; NOACs

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