Rapid Warfarin Reversal

What is Warfarin?
Warfarin is a medicine which aids blood thinning and is used to reduce the risk of blood clotting.

Warfarin is often prescribed to those with heart problems to reduce the risk of blood clots in the heart, which could travel to the brain and cause a stroke, or to the lungs and block a major artery.

Warfarin is also given to aid blood thinning when people form blood clots elsewhere in their body.

People on warfarin need to take particular care that their doctor monitors the dose. The blood needs to be at the correct thickness to balance the risk of blood clotting with the risk of bleeding. When the dose is too high, the blood may become too thin and severe bleeding can occur after a tiny knock or no obvious trauma at all. When this occurs it can result in a life-threatening bleed.

Rapid Warfarin Reversal
When a person on warfarin is experiencing a serious bleeding episode or needs to have an operation, it may be necessary to reverse the blood thinning effects of warfarin to ensure that the blood clots properly, and the patient does not carry on bleeding.

In non-emergency situations, doctors can tell patients to stop taking warfarin for a few days before any planned procedure or, in some cases, doctors can use Vitamin K to reverse the blood thinning effects of warfarin.

In emergency situations, doctors can use Prothrombin Complex Concentrates (PCCs). These stop the bleed by reversing the effects of warfarin thereby allowing blood clotting to occur normally.