Preoperative evaluation of coagulation status in neuromodulation patients

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  • 1 Department of Neurosurgery, Albany Medical Center, Albany, New York;
  • | 2 Department of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics, Albany Medical College, Albany, New York; and
  • | 3 Center Operations-Information Systems & Services, Albany Medical College, Albany, New York
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OBJECTIVE

The incidence of hemorrhage in patients who undergo deep brain stimulation (DBS) and spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is between 0.5% and 2.5%. Coagulation status is one of the factors that can predispose patients to the development of these complications. As a routine part of preoperative assessment, the authors obtain prothrombin time (PT), partial thromboplastin time (PTT), and platelet count. However, insurers often cover only PT/PTT laboratory tests if the patient is receiving warfarin/heparin. The authors aimed to examine their experience with abnormal coagulation parameters in patients who underwent neuromodulation.

METHODS

Patients who underwent neuromodulation (SCS, DBS, or intrathecal pump implantation) over a 9-year period and had preoperative laboratory values available were included. The authors determined abnormal values on the basis of a clinical protocol utilized at their practice, which combined the normal ranges of the laboratory tests and clinical relevance. This protocol had cutoff values of 12 seconds and 39 seconds for PT and PTT, respectively, and < 120,000 platelets/μl. The authors identified risk factors for these abnormalities and described interventions.

RESULTS

Of the 1767 patients who met the inclusion criteria, 136 had abnormal preoperative laboratory values. Five of these 136 patients had values that were misclassified as abnormal because they were within the normal ranges at the outside facility where they were tested. Fifty-one patients had laboratory values outside the ranges of our protocol, but the surgeons reviewed and approved these patients without further intervention. Of the remaining 80 patients, 8 had known coagulopathies and 24 were receiving warfarin/heparin. The remaining 48 patients were receiving other anticoagulant/antiplatelet medications. These included apixaban/rivaroxaban/dabigatran anticoagulants (n = 22; mean ± SD PT 13.7 ± 2.5 seconds) and aspirin/clopidogrel/other antiplatelet medications (n = 26; mean ± SD PT 14.4 ± 5.8 seconds). Eight new coagulopathies were identified and further investigated with hematological analysis.

CONCLUSIONS

New anticoagulants and antiplatelet medications are not monitored with PT/PTT, but they affect coagulation status and laboratory values. Although platelet function tests aid in a subset of medications, it is more difficult to assess the coagulation status of patients receiving novel anticoagulants. PT/PTT may provide value preoperatively.

ABBREVIATIONS

aPTT = activated partial thromboplastin time; DBS = deep brain stimulation; INR = international normalized ratio; NACC = Neuromodulation Appropriateness Consensus Committee; PT = prothrombin time; PTT = partial thromboplastin time; SCS = spinal cord stimulation.

Illustration from Morshed et al. (pp 1–8). Copyright Ken Probst. Published with permission.

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