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13.02.2018 | Original Paper

Phacoemulsification cataract surgery in patients receiving novel oral anticoagulant medications

International Ophthalmology
Janice J. C. Cheung, Shasha Liu, Kenneth K. W. Li



An increasing number of patients are taking novel oral anticoagulant (NOAC) medication, making perioperative management in phacoemulsification surgery an important issue. This study reports the haemorrhagic complications of NOAC in phacoemulsification surgery.


Retrospective case study over a 4-year period.


Consecutive cases receiving NOAC during the time of phacoemulsification were reviewed. Patients were either advised to continue medications (continued group) or withhold medications before surgery (withheld group).

Main outcome measures

Details including patient demographics, preoperative assessment, postoperative outcome and intraoperative, postoperative and systemic complications were recorded.


A total of 20,100 cases of phacoemulsification were performed. Of which, 66 cases were found to be on NOAC (0.33%). This included 66 eyes of 53 patients, with 42 continued and 24 withheld medications before surgery. There was no statistically significant difference between the two groups in demographics, cataract risk factors, baseline renal function, clotting profile, type of NOAC, incision size, phacoemulsification energy, preoperative and postoperative visual acuity. There was also no significant difference in intraoperative, postoperative and systemic complications (p = 1.00 and 0.53, Fischer’s exact test). None of the patients in the continued group had postoperative complications; two cases in the withheld group receiving retrobulbar anaesthesia had bruising and subconjunctival haemorrhage after resumption of NOAC (p = 0.13, Fischer’s exact test).


The present study found no difference in haemorrhagic complications between cases continuing and withholding NOAC during phacoemulsification. Nevertheless, the potential risks and benefits to continue or withhold NOAC perioperatively should be carefully considered via a multidisciplinary approach.

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