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The Management of Patients on Dual Antiplatelet Therapy Undergoing Orthopedic Surgery


Cardiovascular disease is prevalent in patients undergoing orthopedic surgery. Many patients who have undergone previous percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) with stenting are on dual antiplatelet therapy in order to minimize the risk of stent thrombosis. The optimal management of these patients in the perioperative setting remains unclear. We aim to provide information about the management of patients who have undergone a PCI with stents who are subsequently indicated for an orthopedic procedure. We will review the concerns from a cardiologist’s and orthopedic surgeon’s perspective in regards to the management of these patients in the perioperative setting. In addition, the current American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology, Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, and American College of Surgeons guidelines are reviewed. The decision to discontinue dual antiplatelet therapy in a patient who has undergone a PCI with stent should be made only after careful review of the risks for thrombosis and bleeding. Best practice suggests that these risks should be jointly assessed by the orthopedic surgeon and cardiologist. Those patients with stents at high risk of thrombosis should have surgery delayed if possible. There is little data supporting a significantly increased bleeding risk associated with mortality in orthopedic patients when antiplatelet therapy is continued perioperatively.

This article appears in HSS Journal: Volume 6, Number 2.
View the full article at springerlink.com.

About the HSS Journal

HSS Journal, an academic peer-reviewed journal, is published twice a year, February and September, and features articles by internal faculty and HSS alumni that present current research and clinical work in the field of musculoskeletal medicine performed at HSS, including research articles, surgical procedures, and case reports.


Han Jo Kim, MD
Hospital for Special Surgery
Weill Cornell College of Medicine

Lawrence F. Levin, MD
Hospital for Special Surgery
Weill Cornell College of Medicine

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