The Joint Commission: Sentinel Event Alert
While DOACs offer ease of use to patients, stopping bleeding events in patients on DOACs is more complicated, requiring different strategies than those for patients on warfarin (Coumadin®) and heparin. Unlike the more widely available reversal agents for warfarin and heparin, reversal agents for DOACs are lesser known and may not be available in every care setting. Also, some DOACs have no FDA-approved reversal agent at this time. Therefore, bleeding complications can be severe if these patients are not assessed according to guidelines on the management of DOACs. Intracranial hemorrhage is the most serious emergent bleeding risk.
In response to an increase in adverse events related to these widely prescribed medications, this alert provides guidance on the safe use and management of DOACs to all medical practitioners and health care organization leaders, particularly chief medical officers, pharmacists, emergency department clinicians, and quality and safety officers.