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Year : 2009  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 296-301

Antiplatelet drugs and the perioperative period: What every urologist needs to know

Department of Urology, C.S.M.M.U (Upgraded King George Medical College), Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Pawan Vasudeva
Department of Urology, C.S.M.M.U (Upgraded King George Medical College), Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0970-1591.56174

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Antiplatelet agents like aspirin and clopidogrel are widely used for indications ranging from primary and secondary prevention of myocardial infarction or stroke to prevention of coronary stent thrombosis after percutaneous coronary interventions. When patients receiving antiplatelet drugs are scheduled for surgery, urologists commonly advise routine periprocedural withdrawal of these drugs to decrease the hemorrhagic risks that may be associated if such therapy is continued in the perioperative period. This approach may be inappropriate as stopping antiplatelet drugs often exposes the patient to a more serious risk, i.e. the risk of developing an arterial thrombosis with its potentially fatal consequences. Moreover, it has been seen that the increase in perioperative bleeding if such drugs are continued is usually of a quantitative nature and does not shift the bleeding complication to a higher risk quality. We, in this mini review, look at the physiological role and pathological implications of platelets, commonly used antiplatelet therapy and how continuation or discontinuation of such therapy in the perioperative period affects the hemorrhagic and thrombotic risks, respectively. Literature on the subject between 1985 and 2008 is reviewed. The consensus that seems to have emerged is that the policy of routine discontinuation of antiplatelet drugs in the perioperative period must be discouraged and risk stratification must be employed while making decisions regarding continuation or temporary discontinuation of antiplatelet therapy. Although antiplatelet drugs may be discontinued in patients at a low risk for an arterial thrombotic event, they must be continued in patients where the risks of bleeding and complications related to excessive bleeding are less than the risks of developing arterial thrombosis.

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