Comparison of Traumatic Intracranial Hemorrhage Expansion and Outcomes Among Patients on Direct Oral Anticoagulants Versus Vitamin k Antagonists

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8 Scopus citations


Background: With increasing use of direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) and availability of new reversal agents, the risk of traumatic intracranial hemorrhage (tICH) requires better understanding. We compared hemorrhage expansion rates, mortality, and morbidity following tICH in patients treated with vitamin k antagonists (VKA: warfarin) and DOACs (apixaban, rivaroxaban, dabigatran). Methods: Retrospective chart review of patients from 2010 to 2017 was performed to identify patients with imaging diagnosis of acute traumatic intraparenchymal, subdural, subarachnoid, and epidural hemorrhage with preadmission use of DOACs or VKAs. We identified 39 patients on DOACs and 97 patients on VKAs. Demographic information, comorbidities, hemorrhage size, and expansion over time, as well as discharge disposition and Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) were collected. Primary outcome was development of new or enlargement of tICH within the first 48 h of initial CT imaging. Results: Of 136 patients with mean (SD) age 78.7 (13.2) years, most common tICH subtype was subdural hematoma (N = 102/136; 75%), and most common mechanism was a fall (N = 130/136; 95.6%). Majority of patients in the DOAC group did not receive reversal agents (66.7%). Hemorrhage expansion or new hemorrhage occurred in 11.1% in DOAC group vs. 14.6% in VKA group (p = 0.77) at a median of 8 and 11 h from initial ED admission, respectively (p = 0.82). Patients in the DOAC group compared to VKA group had higher median discharge GOS (4 vs. 3 respectively, p = 0.03), higher percentage of patients with good outcome (GOS 4–5, 66.7% vs. 40.2% respectively, p = 0.005), and higher rate of discharge to home or rehabilitation (p = 0.04). Conclusions: We report anticoagulation-associated tICH outcomes predominantly due to fall-related subdural hematomas. Patients on DOACs had lower tICH expansion rates although not statistically significantly different from VKA-treated patients. DOAC-treated patients had favorable outcomes versus VKA group following tICH despite low use of reversal strategies. DOAC use may be a safer alternative to VKA in patients at risk of traumatic brain hemorrhage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)407-418
Number of pages12
JournalNeurocritical care
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • Apixaban
  • Dabigatran
  • Direct oral anticoagulant
  • Intracerebral hemorrhage
  • Novel oral anticoagulant
  • Rivaroxaban
  • TBI
  • Traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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