Resumption of anticoagulant therapy after anticoagulant-related gastrointestinal bleeding: A systematic review and meta-analysis Academic Article uri icon

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  • INTRODUCTION: Oral anticoagulation (OAC) is permanently discontinued in up to 50% of patients following a gastrointestinal (GI) bleed. A previous meta-analysis showed a reduced risk of thromboembolism and death, and a non-statistically significant increased risk of re-bleeding associated with resumption. We conducted an updated meta-analysis to determine the risks of recurrent GI bleeding, thromboembolism, and death in patients who resumed OAC compared to those who did not. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We searched EMBASE, MEDLINE, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials for new references from January 2014 to September 2017. Randomized controlled trials and observational studies involving adults with OAC-related GI bleeding were included. Risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane Collaboration's ROBINS-I tool. Pooled relative risk (RR) ratios were calculated using a random-effects model. RESULTS: We identified 12 observational studies involving 3098 patients. There was an increased risk of recurrent GI bleeding (RR 1.91, 95% CI 1.47-2.48, I2 = 0%, 11 studies), and a reduced risk of thromboembolism (RR 0.30, 95% CI 0.13-0.68, I2 = 59.8%, 9 studies) and death (RR 0.51, 95% CI 0.38-0.70, I2 = 71.8%, 8 studies) in patients who resumed OAC compared to those who did not. Eleven studies were judged to be at serious risk of bias due to confounding. CONCLUSIONS: Resuming OAC after OAC-related GI bleeding appears to be associated with an increase in recurrent GI bleeding, but a reduction in thromboembolism and death. Further prospective data are needed to identify patients for whom the net clinical benefit favours OAC resumption and the optimal timing of resumption.


  • Little, D
  • Chai-Adisaksopha, C
  • Hillis, C
  • Witt, DM
  • Monreal, M
  • Crowther, MA
  • Siegal, Deborah

publication date

  • March 2019