Journal of cerebral blood flow and metabolism : official journal of the International Society of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism

Translational insights into traumatic brain injury occurring during dabigatran or warfarin anticoagulation.

PMID 24549187


To date, only limited data are available on the effects of pretreatment with novel oral anticoagulants in the event of traumatic brain injury (TBI). We determined intracerebral hemorrhage volume and functional outcome in a standardized TBI model in mice treated with warfarin or dabigatran. Additionally, we investigated whether excess concentrations of dabigatran could increase bleeding and whether this was preventable by using prothrombin complex concentrate (PCC). C57 mice were treated orally with warfarin or dabigatran; sham-treated mice served as controls. Effective anticoagulation was verified by measurement of international normalized ratio and diluted thrombin time, and TBI was induced by controlled cortical impact (CCI). Twenty-four hours after CCI, intracerebral hemorrhage volume was larger in warfarin-pretreated mice than in controls (10.1 ± 4.9 vs 4.1 ± 1.7 μL; analysis of variance post hoc P=0.001), but no difference was found between controls and dabigatran-pretreated mice (5.3 ± 1.5 μL). PCC applied 30 minutes after CCI did not reliably reduce intracerebral hemorrhage induced by excess dabigatran concentration compared with saline (10.4 ± 11.2 vs 8.7 ± 7.1 μL). Our data suggest pathophysiological differences in TBI occurring during warfarin and dabigatran anticoagulation. The reduced hemorrhage formation under dabigatran therapy could present a safety advantage compared with warfarin. An excess dabigatran concentration, however, can increase hemorrhage.