Anne Grand'Maison, MD, FRCPC, Hematologist, Research Fellow, Thromboembolism Department, Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Centre; University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.
William Geerts, MD, FRCPC, Consultant in Clinical Thromboembolism, Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Centre; University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.
The elderly population is at risk of arterial and venous thromboembolic diseases. Traditional anticoagulants have demonstrated their benefits for prevention and treatment of these conditions and are accepted as standard practice. Despite this evidence, anticoagulants are still underused in older people. Practitioners often hesitate to consider anticoagulation in the elderly because of comorbidities, potential drug interactions and increased risk of bleeding. Careful assessment of bleeding risk and close monitoring of anticoagulant level are essential strategies to optimize the use of anticoagulants in the elderly. Many recently developed antithrombotics that have completed late stage of testing are presented in this review, although further studies are needed to determine their exact role, particularly in the elderly.
Key words: factor Xa inhibitor, antithrombin, renal insufficiency, drug interactions, bleeding risk index.