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Ophthalmologe. 2012 Jul;109(7):665-9. doi: 10.1007/s00347-012-2567-2.

[Massive subretinal hemorrhage and anticoagulants. An unfortunate combination?].

[Article in German]

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Klinik für Augenheilkunde, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität, Theodor-Stern-Kai 7, 60590, Frankfurt am Main, Deutschland.


Exudative age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is one of the conditions which has been shown to be associated with a risk of massive subretinal hemorrhage. Patients with thick submacular hemorrhage complicating ARMD typically have a poor visual prognosis. Antiplatelet therapy with aspirin, clopidogrel or ticlopidine has significant benefits in the secondary prevention of fatal and non-fatal coronary and cerebrovascular events. Anticoagulation is frequently used in this elderly age group for a variety of other comorbidities including prosthetic heart valves, atrial fibrillation, ischemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and venous thromboembolism. However, it is a well established observation that the longer patients remain on anticoagulant therapy, the higher the cumulative risk of bleeding. Over the past years, there has been a rapidly growing body of literature concerning the risk of hemorrhagic ocular complications with ophthalmic surgery in patients receiving anticoagulant therapy. By contrast, there are still little data on the relationship between anticoagulation or antiplatelet therapy and spontaneous ocular hemorrhages and only few reports have focused on patients with ARMD. Just recently, several authors reported a strong association of anticoagulants and antiplatelet agents with the development of large subretinal hemorrhages in ARMD patients. Moreover, arterial hypertension is a high risk factor for large subretinal hemorrhages in ARMD patients receiving anticoagulants or antiplatelet agents. Physicians should be aware of an increased risk of extensive subretinal hemorrhage in ARMD patients when deciding on the initiation and duration of anticoagulant and antiplatelet therapy.

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