Regional anaesthesia in patients taking anticoagulant drugs

Matthew R. Checketts

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Many surgical patients are taking drugs that impair normal coagulation, and this causes concern about the risk of perioperative bleeding events. The anaesthetist is particularly concerned about compressive vertebral canal haematomas, which may occur after spinal or epidural anaesthetic techniques. Fortunately, the risk of this complication is very low. The major risk factors are coagulopathy or technical difficulties with the block. There is also concern about perineural haematomas, which may be associated with peripheral nerve blocks. This article attempts to put the risks of these complications into context, with reference to different classes of anticoagulant drugs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)785-788
Number of pages4
JournalAnaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine
Issue number12
Early online date19 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Aspirin
  • epidural
  • haematoma
  • low-molecular-weight heparin
  • Warfarin


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