Background: Direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) are the treatment of choice for patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation; however, bleeding risk remains significant. We reported a single-center experience with 11 patients who presented with hemorrhagic cardiac tamponade while treated with DOACs.
Objectives: To evaluate the characteristics and clinical outcomes of patients under DOACs with cardiac tamponade.
Methods: We retrospectively identified 11 patients treated with DOACs admitted with pericardial tamponade in our cardiology unit during 2018–2021.
Results: The mean age was 84 ± 4 years; 7 males. Atrial fibrillation was the indication for anticoagulation in all cases. DOACs included apixaban (8 patients), dabigatran (2 patients), and rivaroxaban (1 patient). Urgent pericardiocentesis via a subxiphoid approach under echocardiography guidance was successfully performed in 10 patients. One patient was treated with urgent surgical drainage with a pericardial window. Reversal of anticoagulation using prothrombin complex concentrate and idarucizumab was given before the procedure to 6 patients treated with apixaban and one patient treated with dabigatran. One patient, initially treated with urgent pericardiocentesis, underwent pericardial window surgery due to re-accumulation of blood in the pericardium. The pericardial fluid analysis demonstrated hemopericardium. Cytology tests were negative for malignant cells in all cases. Discharge diagnoses regarding the cause of hemopericardium included pericarditis (3 patients) and idiopathic (8 patients). Medical therapy included non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (1 patient), colchicine (3 patients), and steroids (3 patients). No patient died during hospitalization.
Conclusions: Hemorrhagic cardiac tamponade is a rare complication of DOACs. We found good short-term prognosis following pericardiocentesis.