Anticoagulation and antiplatelet therapy in implantation of electrophysiological devices

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The growing implantations of electrophysiological devices in the context of increasing rates of chronic antithrombotic therapy in cardiovascular disease patients underscore the importance of an effective periprocedural prophylactic strategy for prevention of bleeding complications. In this review, we provide a concise overview of the data regarding anticoagulation and antiplatelet therapy in arrhythmia device surgery. Also, we critically discuss risk factors and procedural parameters that are potentially associated with haemorrhagic untoward events in this setting. Of note, current evidence suggests that heparin bridging therapy in patients on chronic anticoagulation and dual-antiplatelet therapy are associated with increased risk of pocket haematoma formation. Continuation of oral anticoagulation and short-term interruption of clopidogrel with aspirin maintenance in eligible patients, respectively, represent promising strategies with an acceptable safety profile. Besides the perioperative management of antithrombotic therapy, some extra supportive measures may also reduce the incidence of haematomas. High-risk cases should be better treated by experienced operators in high-volume centres. More randomized studies are needed to elucidate the exact role of particular antithrombotic therapy protocols. Finally, the recently accumulated data on this subject should be incorporated into the professional guidelines regarding arrhythmia device therapy.

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