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Perioperative Management of Patients on Adenosine Diphosphate Inhibitors in the Era of Drug-Eluting Stents: Review of the Literature and Clinical Implications

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The current adenosine diphosphate inhibitors, ticlopidine and clopidogrel, are thienopyridine compounds that inhibit adenosine diphosphate mediated platelet aggregation. They interfere with platelet activation by selectively and irreversibly blocking P2Y12 sub-unit of the adenosine diphosphate receptor on the surface of platelets. This provides an antiplatelet effect that is additive to the inhibition of the thromboxane A2 pathway by aspirin.

Dual antiplatlet therapy is extensively used in cardiovascular medicine. Randomized controlled trials have substantiated the fact that thrombotic complications after percutaneous coronary intervention procedures can be decreased by using dual antiplatelet therapy. However, there is a concern of bleeding due to enhanced and irreversible platelet inhibition in patients who will require any operation including coronary artery bypass grafting while on adenosine diphosphate inhibitors. This applies to a large population of patients requiring either coronary artery bypass grafting after angiographic definition of their coronary anatomy, or patients requiring semi-elective or urgent operation while under dual antiplatlet therapy. This concern is more present in era of drug-eluting stents, where long-term use of dual antiplatelet therapy is encouraged, and the incidence of late thrombosis after late cessation of adenosine diphosphate inhibitors is increasingly surfacing in the literature.

The goal this review is to provide the medical chemistry of most commonly used adenosine diphosphate inhibitors, examine the literature on the effect of adenosine diphosphate inhibitors in hemorrhagic-related complications after surgical intervention, and provide the ramifications and alternatives in modern clinical practice.

Keywords: Adenosine diphosphate inhibitors; clopidogrel; complications; myocardial infarction; outcomes; perioperative hemorrhage; postoperative bleeding; stent thrombosis

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Section for Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, University of Nebraska Medical Center, 982315 Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68198-2315, USA.

Publication date: February 1, 2009

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.

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