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Am Heart J. 2008 Nov;156(5):886-92. doi: 10.1016/j.ahj.2008.06.034. Epub 2008 Sep 21.

Clopidogrel use and bleeding after coronary artery bypass graft surgery.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Stanford University Medical Center, Palo Alto, CA, USA.



Short-term use of clopidogrel plus aspirin among patients with acute coronary syndrome reduces ischemic events, but concerns about coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery-related bleeding limit its early use.


Using data from 4,794 consecutive CABG procedures in the Duke Databank for Cardiovascular Disease (January 1999 to December 2003), we developed multivariable models for associations with CABG-related bleeding defined as reoperation for bleeding, red cell transfusion, and a composite of reoperation/transfusion/hematocrit drop>or=15%. We examined clopidogrel use<or=5 days versus no clopidogrel<or=5 days before CABG in each model. Models were adjusted for propensity for clopidogrel use<or=5 days.


Of 4,794 CABG patients, 332 (6.9%) received clopidogrel<or=5 days before CABG, 127 (2.6%) had reoperation for bleeding, 3,277 (68.4%) received red cell transfusion, and 4,387 (91.5%) had the composite outcome. After adjustment, clopidogrel use<or=5 days was not significantly associated with reoperation (odds ratio [OR] 1.24, 95% CI 0.63-2.41) or the composite end point (OR 1.23, 95% CI 0.72-2.10). Clopidogrel<or=5 days was modestly associated with red cell transfusion (OR 1.40, 95% CI 1.04-1.89) but more weakly than other factors, including which surgeon performed the procedure.


Clopidogrel administration<or=5 days before CABG was not significantly associated with reoperation for bleeding or a bleeding composite, and only weakly with red cell transfusion after surgery. The impact of withholding clopidogrel acutely in those for whom clopidogrel has proven benefits and the impact of delaying CABG to prevent bleeding among patients treated with clopidogrel should be viewed in the context of other stronger determinants of bleeding.

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