Heparin bridge is associated with more post-polypectomy bleeding and emergency department visits among anticoagulated patients
Adverse events of heparin bridge therapy
Background Among patients undergoing colonoscopy, anticoagulants are usually stopped and are sometimes substituted by a heparin bridge (hep-bridge). We aimed to assess adverse events associated with hep-bridge compared to temporary cessation of anticoagulants (no-bridge).
Methods This was a single-center, retrospective cohort study that included anticoagulated patients undergoing colonoscopy between 2013 and 2016 at a Veterans Affairs Medical Center. In the nobridge cohort, warfarin was stopped for 5 days and novel anticoagulants for 2 days pre-procedure. In the hep-bridge cohort, anticoagulants were stopped and were substituted by subcutaneous enoxaparin. The primary outcome was post-polypectomy bleeding. Secondary outcomes included cardiovascular events, all-cause adverse events and emergency department or unscheduled ambulatory office visits within 30 days. The predictive values of the HAS-BLED and CHADS2 scores were evaluated.
Results A total of 662 patients were included, of whom 551 underwent polypectomy (mean age 68.6 years; 97.6% male). Four hundred seventy colonoscopies were performed with no-bridge and 192 with hep-bridge. Post-polypectomy bleeding occurred in 6.0% of procedures: 5.7% in the no-bridge cohort compared to 13.0% of hep-bridge procedures (P=0.0038). Cardiovascular or thrombotic events occurred after 2.6% of the no-bridge and 5.2% of the hep-bridge procedures (P=0.1176). Emergency department or unscheduled office visits within 30 days were reported after 18.7% of the no-bridge procedures and 29.7% of the hep-bridge procedures (P<0.0001). Neither CHADS2 nor HASBLED scores predicted bleeding.
Conclusion The use of hep-bridge was associated with a greater incidence of post-polypectomy bleeding and more emergency department and unscheduled office visits compared with cessation of all anticoagulants.
Keywords Colonoscopy, bleeding, polypectomy, anticoagulation, bridge therapy, CHADS2
Ann Gastroenterol 2020; 33 (1): 73-79