The recent introduction of new oral anticoagulants or novel target specific oral anticoagulants (TSOA's) is likely to have a major impact in the years ahead. Many large clinical trials have been published in the past few years showing these agents are generally safe and effective in several clinical settings including acute venous thromboembolic disease, prophylaxis in the postoperative setting, prevention of thromboembolism in patients with atrial fibrillation, and in the management of acute coronary syndromes. Reported rates of overall and intracranial bleeding are lower compared to oral vitamin K antagonists. Other major advantages of oral direct thrombin inhibitors (dabigatran) and Xa inhibitors (rivaroxaban and apixaban) include rapid onset and offset of action and predictable pharmacodynamics with relatively wide therapeutic window allowing for unmonitored drug use. The relatively short half-life, rapid onset of action, and predictable pharmacokinetics should simplify periprocedural use of these agents. In this review we focus on some practical issues related to TSOA's including some limitations, potential complications, considerations to be made for certain patient populations, periprocedural management and issues pertaining to transition to and from these novel agents.
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