Physicians' Academy for Cardiovascular Education

Continuation or interruption of DOAC does not affect hematoma risk at device surgery

BRUISE CONTROL-2 - A Randomized Controlled Trial of Continued versus Interrupted Novel Oral Anti-coagulant at the time of Device Surgery

Presented at ACC.17 Scientific Sessions in Anaheim, CA, USA by David H. Birnie (Ottawa Heart Institute, Ottawa, ON, Canada)

News - Nov. 13, 2017

Main results


In this study, continuation or interruption of DOAC treatment during cardiac procedures are associated with similar rates of device pocket hematoma. In both arms, the rate of this feared complication was lower than expected. Despite this being a negative trial, it carries a good message for patients, noted dr. Birnie. The take home message for clinicians is that either strategy may be good, depending on the clinical scenario. Scenarios in which clinical judgement may favor operating with continued DOAC therapy may include when waiting for the anticoagulant effect to dissipate may lead to unacceptable harm, or in case of a high stroke risk.

During the press conference, discussant dr. Mina Chung (Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH, USA) started out by showing the complexity of the decision pathway for peri-procedural management of anticoagulation. These decisions have been made based on observational and anecdotal information, and few randomized trials have now been published. The BRIDGE trial demonstrated higher major and minor bleeding rates with bridging. It is important to note that this trial included some very high risk patients, both high thrombotic and surgical risk for bleeding. The BRUISE CONTROL study also included some high risk patients, and the primary outcome was clinically significant bleeding. The DSMB stopped this trial due to a higher rate of hematoma in the bridging arm, while BRUISE CONTROL 2 was stopped due to a lack of difference in the outcomes.

We now see the broader scope of implications from these studies; to avoid hematomas, continuation with warfarin is preferred over interruption with heparin bridging. With regard to DOACs, both continuation or interruption is acceptable for CIED procedures, as no increase in CVA/TIA was seen with interrupted DOAC, nor an increase in clinically significant hematoma with continued DOAC treatment. Chung noted that the absence of differences in CVA/TIA incidence with holding DOACs for short periods of time compared to continued use may have implications for other procedures. The power of this study was likely limited in this study, also considering its premature stopping. A futility analysis for CVA/TIA endpoints might be helpful. Other remaining questions regarding peri-procedural DOAC management concern other high risk procedures, active device infection/need for lead extraction, GFR <30 and rheumatic valve disease.


- Our reporting is based on the information provided at the AHA 2017 congress -

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