Semin Liver Dis 2019; 39(02): 195-208
DOI: 10.1055/s-0039-1679934
Review Article
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Direct-Acting Oral Anticoagulants (DOACs) in Cirrhosis and Cirrhosis-Associated Portal Vein Thrombosis

Ethan M. Weinberg*
1   Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Julia Palecki*
1   Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
K. Rajender Reddy
1   Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
12 April 2019 (online)


Direct-acting oral anticoagulants (DOACs) have provided benefit in patients requiring anticoagulation for certain diseases by decreasing the burden of subcutaneous injections and the requirement for frequent monitoring through regular blood tests, to ensure adequacy of the therapeutic doses. Studies have demonstrated DOACs to be as safe, and in some instance safer, compared with traditional anticoagulants in the general population. However, the studies evaluating DOACs excluded patients with cirrhosis, a condition associated with an increased risk of developing portal vein thrombosis (PVT). Warfarin or low-molecular weight heparin are the standard-of-care treatment for acute PVT in cirrhosis, although there is enthusiasm in a paradigm shift switching to DOACs for the treatment of acute PVT in cirrhosis, particularly since the release of DOAC antidotes. This article reviews the current Food and Drug Administration-approved DOACs, hepatic metabolism of DOACs, pharmacokinetics of DOACs in patients with cirrhosis, safety of DOACs (including bleeding, hepatotoxicity, and pregnancy), current treatment guidelines for PVT in cirrhosis, and studies evaluating the use of DOACs in cirrhosis and for the treatment of PVT in cirrhosis. The potential use of DOACs for PVT primary prophylaxis in at-risk patients with cirrhosis and the possible antifibrotic effects of DOACs are also discussed.

* Co-First Authors.

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