Uninterrupted direct oral anticoagulant treatment during acute illness: Impact on clinical outcomes

Itai Gueta*, Yehoshua Nadav Schacham, Noa Markovits, Hillel Halkin, Ronen Loebstein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Uninterrupted drug therapy during acute illness is often associated with pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic variations. Among warfarin treated patients, these changes are reflected in the INR. However, in the case of direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs), given that routine laboratory monitoring is not recommended, these changes may result in unforeseen thromboembolic or bleeding events. Objectives: To determine the rate of thromboembolic (TEE) and bleeding events associated with uninterrupted DOAC compared to warfarin treatment during acute illness. Methods: A retrospective cohort study of patients treated with DOACs or warfarin, both at steady state, who were hospitalized for acute illness. Primary outcome was any TEE or major bleeding requiring re-hospitalization within one month from discharge. Secondary outcome was a composite of major bleeding and clinically relevant non-major bleeding (CRNMB) events. Results: A total of 410 patients continued oral anticoagulant treatment during their hospitalization, of whom 191 (46.6%) were on DOACs and 219 (53.4%) on warfarin, with a total of 18 (4.4%) events. Rates of TEE and major bleeding events did not differ between DOACs and warfarin treated patients (0.9% vs. 0.5% and 0.5% vs. 1%, respectively). Similarly, rate of secondary outcome was comparable between DOACs (4.7%) and warfarin (2.7%, p = 0.29). Sub-analyses demonstrated significantly higher rates among rivaroxaban (10.4%) treated patients compared to warfarin (p = 0.03). Conclusion: Uninterrupted treatment with DOACs during acute illness is not associated with increased risk for re-hospitalizations due to bleeding or thromboembolic events compared to warfarin. Our results suggest a higher bleeding rate among rivaroxaban treated patients at high bleeding risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)457-462
Number of pages6
JournalThrombosis Research
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Acute illness
  • Bleeding
  • DOAC
  • Safety
  • Warfarin


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