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Int J Nephrol Renovasc Dis. 2017 Jun 12;10:135-143. doi: 10.2147/IJNRD.S105771. eCollection 2017.

Direct oral anticoagulants in patients with chronic kidney disease: patient selection and special considerations.

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Nephrology Department, I. Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik.
Center for Thrombosis and Hemostasis, Universitätsmedizin Mainz.
Cardiopraxis Mainz, Gerinnungsambulanz, MED Facharztzentrum, Mainz, Germany.


Many patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) receive anticoagulation or antiplatelet therapy due to atrial fibrillation, coronary artery disease, thromboembolic disease, or peripheral artery disease. The treatment usually includes vitamin K antagonists (VKAs) and/or platelet aggregation inhibitors. The direct oral anticoagulants (DOAC) inhibiting factor Xa or thrombin represent an alternative for VKAs. In patients with acute and chronic kidney disease, caution is warranted, as DOACs can accumulate as they are partly eliminated by the kidneys. Thus, they can potentially increase the bleeding risk in patients with CKD. In patients with an estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) above 60 mL/min, DOACs can be used safely with greater efficacy and safety as compared to VKAs. In patients with CKD 3, DOACs are as effective as VKAs with a lower bleeding rate. The more the renal function declines, the lower is the advantage of DOACs over VKAs. Thus, use of DOACs should be avoided in patients with an eGFR below 30 mL/min, particularly, the compounds with a high renal elimination. Available data suggest that DOACs can also be used safely in older patients. In this review, use of DOACs in comparison with VKAs, heparins, and heparinoids, together with special considerations in patients with impaired renal function will be discussed.


anticoagulation; atrial fibrillation; bleeding; chronic renal disease; dosing; renal function; vitamin K antagonists

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