Invasive procedure perioperative management of INR (extended)

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pellicle

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Good morning.

Well finally I've written up the experiences of @Chuck C who was kind enough to share his results with me. Chuck recently had to undergo a procedure which would in the past mean going off warfarin and bridging. He (like me) found that onerous and undesirable and (probably) agrees with my views that the risk benefit analysis does not hold up.

He had read my previous work on this:


and felt that it could be improved upon and set about constructing his own version of it, extending and honing it. This is the goal of any science driven endeavour, to have it examined, critically appraised and developed. Personally I think he did a great job and I'm very happy that he's such a networker and sought to include me in this..

Of course this is not for everyone, heck even within this community mech valvers are perhaps a minority of members. Mech valvers who self test even less and those who self test and self dose are smaller again. Yet there are potentially readers who are not members and who do not live in the USA and do not have simple easy access to heparin or simply don't enjoy that process and are looking for an alternative.

So with that disclaimer here is the latest work in exploring self directed perioperative INR management.


I believe it also has applications in other areas such as contact sports, for I have over the years met a few valvers who were into martial arts (as I once was) or other contact sports (like soccer).

So, I'm ready for questions if there are any.

1651698642153.png


Best Wishes

*PS I wavered on publishing this but a few people whom I keep in touch with here have suggested I publish this here for the reasons that I mentioned above. I know I'll no doubt get flak from various arm chair scientists (who don't have science degrees) but I'm ok with that (mostly because I've already put them on my ignore list).
 
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leadville

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My surgeon was happy for me to be around 1.5 during shoulder surgery.

The INR needs to be low to aid the healing process as well as to mitigate against bleeding.
 

pellicle

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My surgeon was happy for me to be around 1.5 during shoulder surgery.
its indeed interesting that guidelines suggest INR of 1.4 yet then go on to directly talk about ceasing warfarin

1651747915255.png

(ref doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehab395)

... it just leaves me scratching my head.

Thanks for the comments :)
 

leadville

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@Chuck C

hey,

I have had 2 surgeries in the 12 years i have been taking warfarin.

I found it depends on how the Surgeon feels about the situation.

#1 surgery, dose down to ~ 1.5 with no bridging needed.

#2 Surgery, dose down to 1, stop warfarin and bridge with Heparin ( classic method )


#1 surgery i was prescribed Heparin as a precaution however. i never needed it.

Of the 2 methods i would prefer to lower my warfarin dose as opposed to stopping completely, but just to reiterate ;
the surgeon needs to be on the same page.
 

Superman

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Anything really invasive, I stopped warfarin and bridged. Second heart surgery for example.

Gall bladder and appendix was kind of a rush. I got to the hospital on a Wednesday with pain, they stopped Warfarin right away then did surgery when INR was low enough. But they had time, and it was laparoscopic. I imaging a ruptured appendix might have called for more drastic measures. My gallbladder was what brought me in and we all agreed to take the appendix while I was there to avoid such an emergency on Warfarin as Appendicitis is rather prevalent in my family.
 

Chuck C

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Of the 2 methods i would prefer to lower my warfarin dose as opposed to stopping completely,
I share this preference. The surgeon who handled my recent thyroid procedure prefers this as well.

I had my follow up appointment with him yesterday and we discussed this. He indicated that there seems to be a shift happening with many surgeons preferring to lowerering INR modestly, rather than bridging. But, it really comes down to individualized medicine; the patient's particular risks and the specific procedure.
 

pellicle

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He indicated that there seems to be a shift happening with many surgeons preferring to lowerering INR modestly, rather than bridging.
this is frankly great news.

But, it really comes down to individualized medicine; the patient's particular risks and the specific procedure.
of course ... as Superman suggested "OHS" and other very invasive processes will probably not benefit from such a technique.

Thanks for posting
 

dwhist

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Two years ago had knee replacement surgery. Have mechanical heart valve. Was told to bridge and was told to stop warfarin on Sunday for a Thursday surgery and to do lovenox shots twice Tuesday and only Wed morning. Was told at time of surgery on Thursday morning my INR was 1.07. My first reaction was too low. Had surgery and they held off lovenox shots but had me start warfarin Thursday evening with my normal 5 mg dose. Had rehab late morning on Friday. Nurse came in to check on me after rehab and found I was confused. She called doc and he determined I was having a stroke. They called my wife who showed up to room with an ambulance crew in hallway with stretcher. She was asked to approve the use of the TPA clot buster drug and if no improvement, I was going to be taken to a stroke specialty hospital 15 miles away. I remember none of this and woke up in ICU the next morning. Ended up in hospital for another 5 days and after many tests, it was determined they caught it and no lasting issues from stroke. There were 3 CT scans and one MRI over 2 days. I am told by my cardiologist that I am more susceptible to clots and they will be more hands on next time I have to bridge.

I may need another knee replaced in a few years, for other knee, and my shoulder is falling apart and I am told plan for a reverse shoulder replacement in the future. So will be needing to bridge again in the future.

It is hell to get old. But the alternative is not too good.
 

Superman

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of course ... as Superman suggested "OHS" and other very invasive processes will probably not benefit from such a technique.
I’ll further add the risk of a clot forming in my mechanical valve is pretty low when my mechanical valve is removed and my heart is stopped. So a little different.
 

Chuck C

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I’ll further add the risk of a clot forming in my mechanical valve is pretty low when my mechanical valve is removed and my heart is stopped. So a little different.
Good point. But, the moment the new valve is stitched into place, off the machine and blood flowing through the heart again, a little risk of clot with each beat.
 

pellicle

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I’ll further add the risk of a clot forming in my mechanical valve is pretty low when my mechanical valve is removed and my heart is stopped. So a little different.
thanks for that research jump off point


Hypothermia is frequently used during CPB for its presumed organ protective effects. Blood viscosity increases with hypothermia and allows maintenance of a higher perfusion pressure despite haemodilution. However, hypothermia reversibly inhibits the clotting factors and platelets. Currently, the data are inconclusive regarding the superiority of hypothermic over the normothermic bypass.[20] Rather than the absolute temperature, the rate of rewarming and cerebral hyperthermia have been shown to be more important to prevent cerebral injury
 

Gator Chief

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After 10 years of home testing, and self adjusting my warfarin, through 3 major surgeries, the only time I had a bleeding issue was when I was bridged with Lovenox after knee replacement surgery. My knee surgeon was fine with my INR at 1.4 for the surgery. Unfortunately right after the surgery my surgeon was on the way back to his office and was involved in a bad traffic accident. Another surgeon from the practice followed me up that night and ordered a lovenox shot even though I had already had a lovenox shot 8 hours before, and had resumed my warfarin. All of this caused severe hemorrhaging which took hours to resolve. I have an On-X valve,stopped the warfarin 3 days before the surgery and my INR was 1.4 3 hours before the surgery. I take 12.5mg a day to maintain 2.3 - 2.8 INR. Stopping warfarin drops my INR .4 to .5 a day. In 2 days after starting warfarin from 1.4, I’m not only in the On-X proact trial range in 1 day, but at my comfortable range 2-3 in 2 days. This is all because of knowing my own body and home testing and self adjusting. It has worked for me through the two surgeries ( cervical spine and shoulder surgery for what the surgeon described as a massive tear!) It cuts the Stroke risk significantly from the old recommendations. After the second Lonenox shot and subsequent hemorrhaging, i had to have a blood transfusion and was anemic for a month. Needless to say I’m not a big fan of bridging unless completely necessary. I knew that future surgeries would be problematic because of the medical communities views on surgery for ACT patients. I found this article on surgery and bridging from the Cleveland Clinic dated November 2003. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/8981779_When_patients_on_warfarin_need_surgery even in 2003 they were questioning the safety of bridging and stopping ACT for 5 days. The article was long and covers a lot, but it’s worth a read. By no means do I recommend this for anyone, it has worked for me and my surgeons were onboard with the INR level. Sorry this was so long but ACT shouldn’t be so scary or raise the RED FLAGS with most of the medical community not familiar with the new mechanical valves.
 

pellicle

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Thanks for your comment, and I hope your surgeon wasn't hurt in that accident.

Sorry this was so long but ACT shouldn’t be so scary or raise the RED FLAGS with most of the medical community not familiar with the new mechanical valves.
Indeed and my first pass assessment is that its an unintended by-product of the most powerful persuasive tool (fear) which was brought to bear on new starters to ensure compliance. Combined with no methods of self assessment of INR one could predict that it would result in fear of the unknown with no way of looking under the bed to see that there weren't monsters there.

Imagine trying to drive within the speed limits in a car with no speedo.
 

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