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Tex Heart Inst J. 2010;37(3):336-40.

Antiplatelet therapy and percutaneous coronary intervention in patients with acute coronary syndrome and thrombocytopenia.

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Department of Cardiology, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


Platelets are crucial in the pathogenesis of acute coronary syndrome. Treatment for acute coronary syndrome usually involves antiplatelet, anticoagulant, and antithrombotic therapy, and the performance of percutaneous coronary intervention. All of the medications are associated with bleeding sequelae and are typically withheld from patients who have thrombocytopenia. The safety of antiplatelet therapy and percutaneous coronary intervention in patients who have acute coronary syndrome and thrombocytopenia is unknown, and there are no guidelines or randomized studies to suggest a treatment approach in such patients. Acute coronary syndrome is uncommon in patients who have thrombocytopenia; however, it occurs in up to 39% of patients who have both thrombocytopenia and cancer. Herein, we present the cases of 5 patients with acute coronary syndrome, thrombocytopenia, and cancer who underwent percutaneous coronary intervention with stenting. Before intervention, their platelet counts ranged from 17 to 72 x 10(9)/L. One patient underwent preprocedural platelet transfusion. All were given aspirin, alone or with clopidogrel. One patient experienced melena (of colonic origin). No other patient experienced bleeding sequelae. Aside from the occasional use of antiplatelet and thrombolytic agents in patients with thrombocytopenia, no therapeutic recommendation can be made until data are available on a larger patient population. Until then, treatment should conform to specific clinical circumstances. Approaches to the treatment of acute coronary syndrome in patients with thrombocytopenia might be better directed toward the evaluation of platelet function rather than toward absolute platelet count, and the risk-benefit equation of invasive procedures and antithrombotic therapies may need to incorporate this information.


Angioplasty, transluminal, percutaneous coronary; anticoagulants/adverse effects; aspirin/therapeutic use; blood platelets/drug effects/physiology; coronary artery disease/physiopathology/prevention & control; hemorrhage/complications; myocardial infarction/drug therapy; neoplasms/complications; platelet aggregation inhibitors/administration & dosage/therapeutic use; platelet count/drug effects; thrombocytopenia/complications/drug therapy/etiology/prevention & control

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