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Can J Anaesth. 2002 Jun-Jul;49(6):S26-35.

Antiplatelet agents in the perioperative period: expert recommendations of the French Society of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care (SFAR) 2001--summary statement.

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Département d'Anesthésie-Réanimation, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (CHU) Avicenne, Bobigny, France.



Antiplatelet agents are administered to an increasing number of patients. Preoperative treatment with these agents represents a major problem for the anesthesiologist. The results of a French expert meeting on their perioperative management are reported.


Responses to questions formulated by the Organizing Committee were drafted by a group of experts and reviewed by a multidisciplinary. Reading Committee. Recommendations were classified (grade) according to the evidence level of the studies supporting them.


First, antiplatelet agents have a variable effect on hemostasis as far as bleeding risk is concerned. Aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) increase intra- and postoperative bleeding moderately, but not transfusion requirements. Very few data are available on clopidogrel and ticlopidin. Anti-glycoprotein (GP) IIb/IIIa agents may increase bleeding when surgery is required in proximity with their administration. Second, the common practice of withdrawing antiplatelet agents is now challenged because an increased incidence of myocardial infarction has been reported in patients in whom treatment was interrupted. Third, aspirin should not be withdrawn for most vascular procedures and in several additional settings. When a definite increase in intraoperative bleeding is feared, or when surgical hemostasis is difficult, aspirin, clopidogrel or ticlopidine can be replaced by short-acting NSAIDS, given for a ten-day period and interrupted the day before surgery. Platelet transfusion should only be given when overt bleeding is observed. Postoperatively, antiplatelet treatment should be resumed immediately after surgery (first six hours).


Anesthesiologists should be aware of the indications, potential complications and means of substitution of these agents.

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