*My background is Emergency Physician and worked in level 1 trauma centers for the last 15 years. In general you shouldn’t be too worried about intracranial bleeds on thinners. Yes your risk is increased, but not to the extent advertised. Reversal agents are available as needed (FFP, PCC’s, etc) and utilized, but I can say it is much more rare than people think. *
*I personally would only be cautious if I was far away from help (i.e. bike packing trip), 3+ hours from hospitals, etc. A lot of the literature is based on falls in the elderly (fragile bridging veins at baseline), and no great studies on athletes etc. A more recent abstract is here, although I don’t have the full article. *
RESULTSAmong the 515 enrolled patients, 35 patients had a first major bleed during follow-up (incidence rate: 7.5 per 100 patient-years). Overall, 308 patients (59.8%) were at high risk of falls, and these patients had a nonsignificantly higher crude incidence rate of major bleeding than patients at low risk of falls (8.0 vs 6.8 per 100 patient-years, P=.64). In multivariate analysis, a high falls risk was not statistically significantly associated with the risk of a major bleed (hazard ratio 1.09; 95% confidence interval, 0.54-2.21). Overall, only 3 major bleeds occurred directly after a fall (incidence rate: 0.6 per 100 patient-years).
CONCLUSIONS in this prospective cohort, patients on oral anticoagulants at high risk of falls did not have a significantly increased risk of major bleeds. These findings suggest that being at risk of falls is not a valid reason to avoid oral anticoagulants in medical patients.
This is the lower risk… other studies:
All MTBI patients taking oral anticoagulants in our emergency department between June 2017 and August 2018 were included. All patients on oral anticoagulants underwent immediate cerebral computed tomography (CT) and a second CT scan after 24 h of clinical observation.
There were 451 patients enrolled: 268 were on VKAs and 183 on DOACs. Of the DOAC-treated patients, 7.7% (14/183) presented overall intracranial bleeding, compared with 14.9% (40/268) of VKA-treated patients (p = 0.026)
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURESPrimary outcome measure was rate of adverse outcome defined as death or neurosurgery following initial injury, clinically significant CT scan finding or reattendance with related complication within 10 weeks of initial hospital attendance. Secondary objectives included identifying risk factors for adverseoutcome using univariable and multivariable analyses.
RESULTSClinical data available for 3534/3566 patients (99.1%), median age 79 years; mean initial international normalised ratio (INR) 2.67 (SD 1.34); 81.2% Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) 15: 59.8% received a CT scan with significant head injury-related finding in 5.4% (n=208); 0.5% underwent neurosurgery; 1.2% patients suffered a head injury-related death. Overall adverse outcome rate was 5.9% (95% CI 5.2% to 6.7%). Patients with GCS=15 and no associated symptoms had lowest risk of adverse outcome (risk 2.7%; 95% CI 2.1 to 3.6).
A total of five studies (including 4080 anticoagulated patients with a GCS of 15) were included in the analysis. The majority of patients took vitamin K antagonists (98·3%). There was significant heterogeneity between studies with regards to mechanism of injury and methods. The random effects pooled incidence of ICH was 8·9% (95% confidence interval 5·0-13·8%). In conclusion, around 9% of patients on vitamin K antagonists with a minor head injury develop ICH. There is little data on the risk of traumatic intracranial bleeding in patients who have a GSC 15 post-head injury and are prescribed a direct oral anticoagulant.
Once again, not a similar population to us, overall risk of 5-10% after minor head trauma on Coumadin, and most likely less so on DOAC (direct inhibitors).