Perioperative Clopidogrel Is Seven Days Enough?
Despite the prevalence of surgical candidates on clopidogrel, no definitive guidelines exist for stopping the drug preoperatively. A 7 day off-clopidogrel period is commonly considered safe with regards to bleeding complications. We sought to put the 7-day window to the test with regards to major bleeding events requiring either blood transfusions or return trips to the operating room. We collected data for patients taking clopidogrel in the perioperative period between 2005 and 2007 (n = 170). This data was then compared with the data of all of the patients undergoing surgery at our institution for the same time period (n = 34,480). Patients taking clopidogrel experienced a significantly higher rate of return trips to the operating room (6.5%) compared with nonclopidogrel patients (0.015%). Interestingly, we found no significant difference between those stopping clopidogrel more than 7 days preoperatively and those that did not (5% and 7.5%, respectively). There did not seem to be a significant difference in blood transfusion rates between the two clopidogrel groups. Patients on perioperative clopidogrel require reoperations for bleeding at a significantly higher rate compared with patients not taking clopidogrel. Discontinuing clopidogrel 7 days before surgery is not enough to negate this difference and these patients still experience a drastically higher rate of reoperations for bleeding.
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Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: From the Huntington Memorial Hospital, Pasadena, California
Publication date: 01 October 2009
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