Perioperative Management of Patients on Clopidogrel (Plavix) Undergoing Major Lung Resection

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Abstract

Background

Management of patients requiring antiplatelet therapy with clopidogrel (Plavix) and major lung resection must balance the risks of bleeding and cardiovascular events. We reviewed our experience with patients treated with clopidogrel perioperatively to examine outcomes, including results of a new strategy for high-risk patients.

Methods

Patients who underwent major lung resection and received perioperative clopidogrel between January 2005 and September 2010 were reviewed. Initially, clopidogrel management consisted of discontinuation approximately 5 days before surgery and resumption immediately after surgery. After July 2010, high-risk patients (drug-eluting coronary stent placement within prior year or previous coronary event after clopidogrel discontinuation) were admitted 2 to 3 days preoperatively and bridged with the intravenous glycoprotein IIb/IIIa receptor inhibitor eptifibatide (Integrilin) according to a multidisciplinary cardiology/anesthesiology/thoracic surgery protocol. Outcomes were compared with control patients (matched for preoperative risk factors and extent of pulmonary resection) who did not receive perioperative clopidogrel.

Results

Fifty-four patients who had major lung resection between January 2005 and September 2010 and received clopidogrel perioperatively were matched with 108 control subjects. Both groups had similar mortality, postoperative length of stay, and no differences in the rates of perioperative transfusions, reoperations for bleeding, myocardial infarctions, and strokes. Seven of the 54 clopidogrel patients were admitted preoperatively for an eptifibatide bridge. Two of these patients received perioperative transfusions, but there were no deaths, reoperations, myocardial infarctions, or stroke.

Conclusions

Patients taking clopidogrel can safely undergo major lung resection. Treatment with an eptifibatide bridge may minimize the risk of cardiovascular events in higher risk patients.

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