Safety of anticoagulation with uninterrupted warfarin vs. interrupted dabigatran in patients requiring an implantable cardiac device

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Cardiology | Cardiovascular Diseases


BACKGROUND: The optimal strategy of peri-procedural anticoagulation in patients undergoing permanent cardiac device implantation is controversial. Our objective was to compare the major bleeding and thromboembolic complications in patients managed with uninterrupted warfarin (UW) vs. interrupted dabigatran (ID) during permanent pacemaker (PPM) or implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICD) implantation.

METHODS: A retrospective cohort study of all eligible patients from July 2011 through January 2012 was performed. UW was defined as patients who had maintained a therapeutic international normalized ratio (INR) on the day of the procedure. ID was defined as stopping dabigatran > /=12 hours prior to the procedure and then resuming after implantation. Major bleeding events included hemothorax, hemopericardium, intracranial hemorrhage, gastrointestinal bleed, epistaxis, or pocket hematoma requiring surgical intervention. Thromboembolic complications included stroke, transient ischemic attack, deep venous thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, or arterial embolism.

RESULTS: Of the 133 patients (73.4+/-11.0 years; 91 males) in the study, 86 received UW and 47 received ID. One (1.2%) patient in the UW group sustained hemopericardium perioperatively and died. In comparison, the ID patients had no complications. As compared to the ID group, the UW group had a higher median CHADS2 score (2 vs. 3, P=0.04) and incidence of Grade 1 pocket hematoma (0% vs. 7%, P=0.09). Neither group developed any thromboembolic complications.

CONCLUSIONS: Major bleeding rates were similar among UW and ID groups. Perioperative ID appears to be a safe anticoagulation strategy for patients undergoing PPM or ICD implantation.


Dabigatran, defibrillator, pacemaker, perioperative anticoagulation, warfarin

DOI of Published Version



Cardiovasc Diagn Ther. 2016 Feb;6(1):3-9. doi: 10.3978/j.issn.2223-3652.2015.10.06. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Cardiovascular diagnosis and therapy

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID