Critical Care and Shock

Does preinjury anticoagulant or antiplatelet medication increase the need for blood transfusions in patients aged older than 65 years with traumatic brain injury?

Abstract

Background: Anticoagulant or antiplatelet medications are commonly prescribed in older adults, increasing bleeding tendency and affecting traumatic brain injury (TBI)-related morbidity and mortality.

Objectives: This study aimed to determine the effects of preinjury anticoagulant or antiplatelet medication on blood transfusions and outcomes in patients aged >65 years with TBI.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed records of patients with TBI without other injuries admitted to our hospital between January 2016 and June 2019. We compared the number of blood transfusions administered and outcomes between patients who were receiving anticoagulant/antiplatelet medication and those who were not.

Results: Overall, 82 patients (66% male) with an average±standard deviation age of 76.6±7.29 years were enrolled. Thirty-one patients were receiving anticoagulants or antiplatelets and 51 were not. There were no differences in age, medical history, Injury Severity Score, and Glasgow Coma Scale score between the groups. International normalized ratios of patients who were on warfarin were significantly higher than those of patients who were not (p<0.05). Analysis of covariance demonstrated that patients who were receiving medications needed more plasma transfusions than did those who were not (p<0.05). The incidence of complications was 64.5% and 37.3% in patients who were and were not receiving medication, respectively (p<0.05). Multivariate regression analysis showed that patients who were receiving medications bled 5.62 times more than did those who were not (95% confidence interval: 1.52~20.70).

Conclusions: Bleeding incidence and plasma transfusion requirements are increased by preinjury anticoagulant or antiplatelet medication in patients aged >65 years with TBI.