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Am J Cardiol. 2012 Oct 1;110(7):1062-5. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2012.05.043. Epub 2012 Jun 22.

Usefulness of international normalized ratio to predict bleeding complications in patients with end-stage liver disease who undergo cardiac catheterization.

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Division of Cardiology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, USA.


Patients with end-stage liver disease frequently require invasive cardiac procedures in preparation for liver transplantation. Because of the impaired hepatic function, these patients often have a prolonged prothrombin time and elevated international normalized ratio (INR). To determine whether an abnormal prothrombin time/INR is predictive of bleeding complications from invasive cardiac procedures, we retrospectively reviewed, for bleeding complications, the databases and case records of our series of patients with advanced cirrhosis who underwent cardiac catheterization. A total of 157 patients underwent isolated right-sided heart catheterization, and 83 underwent left-sided heart catheterization or combined left- and right-sided heart catheterization. The INR ranged from 0.93 to 2.35. No major procedure-related complications occurred. Several patients in each group required a blood transfusion for gastrointestinal bleeding but not for procedure-related bleeding. No significant change was found in the hemoglobin after right-sided or left-sided heart catheterization, and no correlation was found between the preprocedure INR and the change in postprocedure hemoglobin. When comparing patients with a normal (≤1.5) and elevated (>1.5) INR, no significant difference in hemoglobin after the procedure was found in either group. In conclusion, despite an elevated INR, patients with end-stage liver disease can safely undergo invasive cardiac procedures. An elevated INR does not predict catheterization-related bleeding complications in this patient population.

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