Critical Care and Shock

Are preinjury anticoagulant and antiplatelet medications a pitfall in the bleeding tendencies of elderly trauma patients in intensive care?

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Abstract

Purpose: The elderly are more likely to be on anticoagulant or antiplatelet medications, which increase bleeding. We aimed to determine the effect of preinjury anticoagulant or antiplatelet medications on required blood transfusions and the trauma outcomes of elderly patients.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of all elderly trauma patients admitted to Chungbuk National University Hospital from January 2016 to June 2019. We compared the required number of blood transfusion units, complications, and mortality rate between those on anticoagulant or antiplatelet medications and those that were not, using the chi-squared test, independent t-test, linear regression analysis, and logistic regression analysis.

Results: Out of 466 patients, 142 were on anticoagulant or antiplatelet medications while 324 were not. There was a significant statistical difference in the unit amount of red blood cells transfused within 4 hours of arriving at the hospital between the medicated and non-medicated groups (0.89 vs 1.43 units, respectively, p=0.02); however, multivariate analysis showed no statistical difference (p=0.28). The medication group showed a higher rate of complications compared to the non-medicated group (47.9% vs 29.6%, respectively, p=0.001), bleeding (17.6% vs 2.8%, respectively, p=0.001), and pneumonia (24.4% vs 14.2%, respectively, p=0.01). There was no statistical difference in the mortality rate (16.9% vs 22.2%, respectively, p=0.21).

Conclusion: Preinjury anticoagulant or antiplatelet medications in elderly trauma patients increased bleeding and complications such as pneumonia but did not affect transfusion requirement, or mortality rate.