The number of patients requiring cardiovascular implantable electronic device (CIED, e.g., pacemaker and defibrillator) surgery is increasing rapidly and at least a quarter of them are using chronic oral anticoagulation (OAC). Recently, the traditional approach of withholding anticoagulation and using heparin bridging has been challenged by studies showing safety of performing CIED surgery under anticoagulation with vitamin K antagonists. Bridging with heparin is associated with incremental healthcare costs, prolonged hospital admission, and also with an augmented relative risk of pocket hematoma. The risk of embolic events seems to be low and similar with the use of two strategies (heparin bridging and continuous warfarin). Experience with novel oral anticoagulants is limited. Few studies suggest that withholding 48–72 hours before surgery and performing the procedure under anticoagulation are safe alternatives. However, larger randomized clinical trials are needed before definitive conclusions. In this chapter, we review the management of anticoagulation around cardiac implantable electronic device surgery under new conditions.
Part of the book: Anticoagulation Therapy