European guidelines on perioperative venous thromboembolism prophylaxis: Chronic treatments with antiplatelet agents

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Abstract

Antiplatelet agents (APA) are considered first-line therapy in preventing cardiovascular thrombotic events, but they are of limited value in the prophylaxis of venous thromboembolism (VTE) during the perioperative period. Consequently, many patients should receive both an APA and an anticoagulant. This combination can increase the bleeding risk and it is necessary to make some recommendations to minimise that risk. In patients receiving APA chronically, if the risk of VTE outweighs the risk of bleeding, we suggest pharmacological prophylaxis (grade 2C). In patients treated with dual antiplatelet therapy undergoing a procedure associated with a high risk of VTE, resuming both APA shortly after the procedure must be prioritised over pharmacological VTE prevention (grade 2C). If the risk of bleeding from a combination of an APA and an anticoagulant outweighs the risk of VTE, we suggest mechanical thromboprophylaxis over anticoagulant prophylaxis, without discontinuing the APA (grade 2C). Patients in whom neuraxial anaesthesia is planned, a higher rate of complications could occur if pharmacological thromboprophylaxis is administered concurrently and postoperative thromboprophylaxis initiation should be suggested (grade 2C). After surgery, the first dose of aspirin should be given once haemostasis is guaranteed (grade 2B). In the case of clopidogrel, give the drug without a loading dose between 24 and 48 h after surgery (grade 2C).

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