BACKGROUND: Dabigatran is a direct thrombin inhibitor with a favorable effectiveness and safety profile when compared to vitamin K antagonists, both in randomized trials and real world registries of atrial fibrillation patients. Yet, physicians’ fear of high bleeding risk scenarios in daily clinical practice still precludes a more widespread use of oral anticoagulation. We hereby report a successful case of dabigatran reversal with the novel monoclonal antibody fragment idarucizumab in a patient undergoing heart transplantation.
CASE PRESENTATION: A 45-year old male patient on dabigatran for atrial fibrillation thromboprophylaxis was enlisted for heart transplantation due to end-stage ischemic heart failure. Upon donor availability and suitability and following the last intake of the drug 12 h previously, activated partial thromboplastin time was measured and found to be elevated. After general anesthesia and before extracorporeal circulation, idarucizumab was administered as two boluses of 2.5 g. Orthotopic heart transplantation ensued under full heparinization and cardiopulmonary bypass. Total chest tube output was 1125 mL after 3 days and 4 units of fresh frozen plasma and one platelet pool were administered in the operating room without further need for blood products. The post-operative period was uneventful.
CONCLUSIONS: Idarucizumab was associated with an effective hemostasis in the setting of heart transplantation. Dabigatran may be considered as an alternative to vitamin K antagonists in heart transplant candidates with an indication for oral anticoagulation.