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Anesth Analg. 2008 Aug;107(2):570-90. doi: 10.1213/ane.0b013e3181731e95.

Coronary artery stents: II. Perioperative considerations and management.

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Department of Anesthesiology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157-1009, USA.


The management of patients with coronary artery stents during the perioperative period is one of the most important patient safety issues clinicians confront. Perioperative stent thrombosis is a life-threatening complication for patients with either bare-metal or drug-eluting stents. Noncardiac surgery appears to increase the risk of stent thrombosis, myocardial infarction, and death, particularly when patients undergo surgery early after stent implantation. The incidence of complications is further increased when dual-antiplatelet therapy is discontinued preoperatively. It is generally agreed that aspirin must be continued throughout the perioperative period, except in circumstances when the risk of bleeding significantly outweighs the benefit of continued anticoagulation, such as procedures performed in a closed space. We present considerations for regional anesthesia, as well as postoperative recommendations as the occurrence of perioperative stent thrombosis appears to be greatest during this period. Immediate percutaneous coronary intervention is the definitive treatment for perioperative stent thrombosis, and 24-h access to an interventional cardiology suite should be readily available. Algorithms for perioperative management of patients with bare-metal and drug-eluting stents are proposed.

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