Top Read Articles February 2014

  • Intracranial haemorrhage (ICH) affects up to 1% of patients on oral anticoagulation per year, and is the most feared and devastating complication of this treatment. After such an event, it is unclear whether anticoagulant therapy should be resumed. Such a decision hinges upon the assessment of the competing risks of haematoma growth or recurrent ICH and thromboembolic events. ICH location and the risk for ischaemic cerebrovascular event seem to be the key factors that lead to risk/benefit balance of restarting anticoagulation after ICH. Patients with lobar haemorrhage or cerebral amyloid angiopathy remain at higher risk for anticoagulant-related ICH recurrence than thromboembolic events and, therefore would be best managed without anticoagulants. Patients with deep hemispheric ICH and a baseline risk of ischemic stroke >6.5% per year, that corresponds to CHADS2≥ 4 or CHA2DS2-VASc ≥ 5, may receive net benefit from restarting anticoagulation. To date, a reasonable recommendation regarding time to resumption of anticoagulation therapy would be after 10 weeks. Available data regarding the role of magnetic resonance imaging in assessing the risks of both ICH and warfarin-related ICH do not support the use of this test for excluding anticoagulation in patients with atrial fibrillation1.
  • The current Brain Trauma Foundation recommendation for antiseizure prophylaxis is phenytoin during the first 7 days after traumatic brain injury (TBI).                                                                                            93 adult patients (43 [46%] No phenytoin group vs. 50 [54%] phenytoin group). The two groups were well matched. Contrary to expectation, more seizures occurred in the PP group as compared with the NP group; however, this did not reach significance (PP vs. NP, 2 [4%] vs. 1 [2.3%], p = 1). There was no significant difference in the two groups (PP vs. NP) as far as disposition are concerned, mortality caused by head injury (4 [8%] vs. 3 [7%], p = 1), discharge home (16 [32%] vs. 17 [40%], p = 0.7), and discharge to rehabilitation (30 [60%] vs. 23 [53%], p = 0.9). However, with PP, there was a significantly longer hospital stay (PP vs. NP, 36 vs. 25 days, p = 0.04) and significantly worse functional outcome at discharge based on Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) score (PP vs. NP, 2.9 vs. 3.4, p < 0.01) and modified Rankin Scale score (2.3 ± 1.7 vs. 3.1 ± 1.5, p = 0.02).Phenytoin prophylaxis may not decrease early posttraumatic seizure and may suppress functional outcome after blunt TBI. These results need to be verified with randomized studies before recommending changes in clinical practice and do not apply to penetrating trauma2.
  1. Paciaroni M, Agnelli G. Should oral anticoagulants be restarted after warfarin-associated cerebral haemorrhage in patients with atrial fibrillation? Thromb Haemost. 2014 Jan;111(1):14-8. doi: 10.1160/TH13-08-0667. Epub 2013 Nov 21. PubMed PMID: 24258528. []
  2. Bhullar IS, Johnson D, Paul JP, Kerwin AJ, Tepas JJ 3rd, Frykberg ER. More harm than good: antiseizure prophylaxis after traumatic brain injury does not decrease seizure rates but may inhibit functional recovery. J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2014 Jan;76(1):54-60; discussion 60-1. doi: 10.1097/TA.0b013e3182aafd15. PubMed PMID: 24368357. []

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