Comparison of 3-factor versus 4-factor prothrombin complex concentrate for emergent warfarin reversal: a systematic review and meta-analysis

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BACKGROUND: Patients requiring emergent warfarin reversal (EWR) have been prescribed three-factor prothrombin complex concentrate (PCC3) and four-factor prothrombin complex concentrate (PCC4) to reverse the anticoagulant effects of warfarin. There is no existing systematic review and meta-analysis of studies directly comparing PCC3 and PCC4.

METHODS: The primary objective of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to determine the effectiveness of achieving study defined target INR goal after PCC3 or PCC4 administration. Secondary objectives were to determine the difference in safety endpoints, thromboembolic events (TE), and survival during the patients' hospital stay. Random-effects meta-analysis models were used to estimate the odds ratios (OR), and heterogeneity associated with the outcomes. The Newcastle-Ottawa Scale was used to assess study quality, and Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines were followed.

RESULTS: Ten full-text manuscripts and five abstracts provided data for the primary and secondary outcomes. Patients requiring EWR had more than three times the odds of reversal to goal INR when they were given PCC4 compared to PCC3 (OR = 3.61, 95% CI: 1.97-6.60, p < 0.001). There was no meaningful clinical association or statistically significant result between PCC4 and PCC3 groups in TE (OR = 1.56, 95% CI: 0.83-2.91, p = 0.17), or survival during hospital stay (OR = 1.34, 95% CI: 0.81-2.23, p = 0.25).

CONCLUSION: PCC4 is more effective than PCC3 in meeting specific predefined INR goals and has similar safety profiles in patients requiring emergent reversal of the anticoagulant effects of warfarin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number14
JournalBMC Emergency Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
?Not applicable?.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


  • Blood coagulation factors
  • Meta-analysis
  • Prothrombin complex concentrate
  • Systematic review
  • Warfarin

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review


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