Relation Between Dabigatran Concentration, as Assessed Using the Direct Thrombin Inhibitor Assay, and Activated Clotting Time/Activated Partial Thromboplastin Time in Patients With Atrial Fibrillation

Kenji Okubo, Taishi Kuwahara, Katsumasa Takagi, Masateru Takigawa, Jun Nakajima, Yuji Watari, Emiko Nakashima, Kazuya Yamao, Tadashi Fujino, Hiroyuki Tsutsui, Atsushi Takahashi

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Dabigatran is a direct thrombin inhibitor that has been approved for preventing stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation. In this study, we aimed to assess the associations between the dabigatran concentration (calculated through plasma-diluted thrombin time, as assessed using the Hemoclot assay) and the activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT) and activated clotting time (ACT). We recruited 137 patients with atrial fibrillation who were receiving a normal dose of dabigatran (300 mg/d) or a reduced dose of dabigatran (220 mg/d, usually administered to patients who were elderly, had moderate renal dysfunction, or who were also receiving verapamil). We then assessed the aPTT, ACT, and Hemoclot results of the patients and calculated the plasma dabigatran concentration. The mean plasma concentration of dabigatran was 127 ± 88 ng/ml, although no significant differences in dabigatran concentration, ACT, or aPTT were observed when we compared the 2 doses of dabigatran (300 or 220 mg/d). The dabigatran concentration was within the therapeutic levels in most patients, although a high value (>300 ng/ml) was observed in several patients, which indicated a high risk of bleeding. The dabigatran concentration was strongly and positively correlated with ACT and aPTT (r = 0.87, p <0.001; and r = 0.76, p <0.001; respectively). Multivariate analysis revealed that verapamil use was independently associated with elevated dabigatran concentrations (p <0.001). Therefore, ACT and aPTT may be useful for bedside assessment of the anticoagulant activity of dabigatran, and verapamil use may be a risk factor for elevated dabigatran concentrations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number21051
Pages (from-to)1696-1699
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Cardiology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 15 2015
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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