Systematic Review of Observational Research Studying the Long-Term use of Antithrombotic Medicines Following Intracerebral Hemorrhage

Robert W. V. Flynn, Thomas M. MacDonald, Gordon D. Murray, Alexander S. F. Doney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Patients with intracerebral hemorrhage frequently have indications for antithrombotic therapy. This represents a therapeutic dilemma as intracerebral hemorrhage is considered a contraindication to antithrombotic medication. Previous systematic reviews have revealed no long-term randomised studies addressing this issue. Our objective was to review observational studies describing the long-term follow-up of patients receiving antithrombotic therapy following intracerebral hemorrhage. Searches were conducted in MEDLINE and EMBASE from 1984 to 2008 for any observational studies detailing use of antithrombotic treatments in patients with intracerebral hemorrhage. Included studies must have had follow-up extending beyond discharge. The primary endpoint was recurrent intracerebral hemorrhage. Secondary endpoints were ischemic events and serious vascular events. 1,301 articles were reviewed: two epidemiological studies and six case series met the inclusion criteria. These described a total of 46 subjects receiving antiplatelet agents (from one study) and 42 patients receiving oral anticoagulants (from one study and six case-series). For patients receiving subsequent aspirin there were seven recurrent intracerebral hemorrhages and four subsequent thrombo-occulsive events. Amongst patents restarting oral anticoagulation there were four recurrent intracerebral bleeds and nine subsequent thrombo-occulsive events. There is a marked paucity of evidence to guide clinicians when planning the long-term management of patients with intracerebral hemorrhage and cogent indications for antithrombotic therapy. Published guidance addressing this issue is not evidence based. In the continued absence of randomised studies addressing antithrombotic use following intracerebral hemorrhage, there is a clear requirement for further high quality observational data on the clinical impact of antithrombotic therapy in this important patient group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-184
Number of pages8
JournalCardiovascular therapeutics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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