Pulmonary embolism: new treatments for an old problem
Emergency Department, St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
Abstract: Nonvitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants, previously referred to as novel oral anticoagulants, have emerged in recent years as attractive treatment options for acute pulmonary embolism (PE). However, despite the widespread anticipation by physicians and the approval of rivaroxaban, apixaban, dabigatran, and more recently edoxaban, there is still some reluctance to choose these newer agents over conventional treatment with heparin/vitamin K antagonists. Acute PE puts a considerable strain on emergency departments, and medical staff rely on efficient diagnosis and risk assessment to manage the condition appropriately and economically. Rivaroxaban and apixaban offer a convenient and cost-effective single-drug therapeutic approach. The ease of administration and drug management may enable earlier discharge and outpatient treatment in low-risk patients and alleviate the demands put on emergency-care infrastructures. This review discusses the current guidelines and anticoagulation options in the emergency setting for patients with acute PE and explores the reasons for the slow transition from old to new treatment options.
Keywords: deep vein thrombosis, non-VKA oral anticoagulant, pulmonary embolism, treatment
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