Abstract Introduction Perioperative vitamin K antagonist management is an issue of concern in many countries. The availability of best practice guidelines meets health professionals’ needs, but compliance is uncertain and should be assessed. Materials and methods Our aim was to assess practitioner compliance with the guidelines on perioperative VKA management issued by the French National Authority for Health through a national register set up in partnership with the French College of Anaesthetists and Intensivists. Seven sections of data entry were focused on perioperative management of VKAs for elective or emergency procedures. High-risk patients were identified. Compliance with guidelines was calculated per item Results 932 charts were completed between October 2009 and December 2010. VKA therapy was interrupted in 74% (622/837) of elective procedures and bridged in 69% cases (428/622) mainly with LMWH. According to guidelines, bridging was strongly recommended in 39% high-risk patients (175/394) but 13% of these (23/175) received no bridging. Bridging was overused in 60% of low risk patients (242/406). Other compliance rates were as follows: (i) administration of therapeutic enoxaparin doses (=200IU/kg/day): only 18% of high-risk patients (18/98), (ii) INR measurement on evening prior to the procedure 65% (525/803), (iii) concomitant prothrombin complex concentrate and vitamin K administration in emergency surgery 24% (21/87), (iv) postoperative therapeutic enoxaparin doses: only 20% despite widespread prescription. The incidence rate of bleeding and thrombotic events was 7.1% and 0.96% respectively. Conclusions These poor compliance rates with guidelines suggest that the knowledge-to-action transfer plan was inadequate and that further interventions are required.