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Europace. 2015 Jun;17(6):840-54. doi: 10.1093/europace/euu357. Epub 2015 Feb 24.

Management of antithrombotic therapy in patients undergoing electrophysiological device surgery.

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U.O.C. Cardiologia Ospedaliera, Dipartimento Cardio-Toraco-Vascolare, Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria, Siena, Italy
Dipartimento di Medicina Sperimentale e Clinica, Università di Firenze, Firenze, Italy.
Cardiologia Invasiva, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Careggi, Firenze, Italy.
U.O. Cardiologia, Ospedale Misericordia, Grosseto, Italy.
Dipartimento Cardiovascolare e Neurologico, Ospedale San Donato, Arezzo, Italy.
Dipartimento del Cuore e dei Vasi, Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Careggi, Firenze, Italy.
Second Division of Cardiovascular Diseases, New Santa Chiara Hospital, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.
Struttura Complessa di Cardiologia, Ospedale Versilia, Lido di Camaiore (LU), Italy.


The aim of this review is to formulate practical recommendations for the management of antithrombotic therapy in patients undergoing cardiac implantable electronic device (CIED) surgery by providing indications for a systematic approach to the problem integrating general technical considerations with patient-specific elements based on a careful evaluation of the balance between haemorrhagic and thromboembolic risk. Hundreds of thousands patients undergo implantation or replacement of CIEDs annually in Europe, and up to 50% of these subjects receive antiplatelet agents or oral anticoagulants. The rate of CIED-related complications, mainly infective, has also significantly increased so that transvenous lead extraction procedures are, consequently, often required. Cardiac implantable electronic device surgery is peculiar and portends specific intrinsic risks of developing potentially fatal haemorrhagic complications; on the other hand, the periprocedural suspension of antithrombotic therapy in patients with high thromboembolic risk cardiac conditions may have catastrophic consequences. Accordingly, the management of the candidate to CIED surgery receiving concomitant antithrombotic therapy is a topic of great clinical relevance yet controversial and only partially, if at all, adequately addressed in evidence-based current guidelines. In spite of the fact that in many procedures it seems reasonably safe to proceed with aspirin only or without interruption of anticoagulants, restricting to selected cases the use of bridging therapy with parenteral heparins, there are lots of variables that may make the therapeutic choices challenging. The decision-making process applied in this document relies on the development of a stratification of the procedural haemorrhagic risk and of the risk deriving from the suspension of antiplatelet or anticoagulant therapy combined to generate different clinical scenarios with specific indications for optimal management of periprocedural antithrombotic therapy.


Anticoagulation; Antiplatelet therapy; Bleeding; Coronary stent; Haemorrhage; Implantable cardioverter defibrillator; Pacemaker

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