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Clopidogrel and Bleeding after General Surgery Procedures

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Although many studies in the cardiothoracic literature exist about the relationship between clopidogrel and postoperative bleeding, there is scarce data in the general surgery literature. We assessed whether there are increased bleeding complications, morbidity, mortality, and resource utilization in patients who are on clopidogrel (Plavix®) within 1 week before undergoing a general surgery procedure. Fifty consecutive patient charts were retrospectively reviewed after identifying patients who had pharmacy orders for clopidogrel and who underwent a general surgery procedure between 2003 and 2007. Patients who took clopidogrel within 6 days before surgery (group I, n = 28) were compared with patients who stopped clopidogrel for 7 days or more (group II, n = 22). A larger percentage of patients who took their last dose of clopidogrel within 1 week of surgery (21.4% vs 9.5%) had significant bleeding after surgery requiring blood transfusion. However, there were no significant differences between the groups in operative or postoperative blood transfusions (P = 0.12, 0.53), decreases in hematocrit (P = 0.21), hospital stay (P = 0.09), intensive care unit stay (P = 0.41), late complications (P = 0.45), or mortality (P = 0.42). Although our cohort is limited in size, these results suggest that in the case of a nonelective general surgery procedure where outcomes depend on timely surgery, clopidogrel taken within 6 days before surgery should not be a reason to delay surgery. However, careful attention must be paid to meticulous hemostasis, and platelets must be readily available for transfusion in the operating room.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: From the Department of Surgery, The Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York

Publication date: August 1, 2008

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  • The Southeastern Surgical Congress owns and publishes The American Surgeon monthly. It is the official journal of the Congress and the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, which all members receive each month. The journal brings up to date clinical advances in surgical knowledge in a popular reference format. In addition to publishing papers presented at the annual meetings of the associated organizations, the journal publishes selected unsolicited manuscripts. If you have a manuscript you'd like to see published in The American Surgeon select "Information for Authors" from the Related Information options below. A Copyright Release Form must accompany all manuscripts submitted.
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