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Sci Rep. 2016 Oct 21;6:35833. doi: 10.1038/srep35833.

Impact of different antithrombotics on the microcirculation and viability of perforator-based ischaemic skin flaps in a small animal model.

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Department of Oral and Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery, Technische Universität München, Klinikum Rechts der Isar, Munich, Germany.
Institute for Medical Biometry, Epidemiology and Medical Informatics, University of Saarland, Homburg Saar, Germany.


The effects of antithrombotic drugs on random and free flap survival have been investigated in the past, but the experimental and clinical results are not in agreement. A perforator-based critical ischaemia model was used to evaluate the effects of different perioperatively administered pharmaceutical agents on tissue ischaemia and to assess the potential additional haemorheological or vasodilative effects of antithrombotics on flap microcirculation. Combined laser Doppler flowmetry and remission spectroscopy revealed an increase in certain microcirculation parameters in most groups in comparison with saline controls, and these changes correlated with flap survival. Clopidogrel and hirudin significantly improved the amount of viable flap tissue in comparison with controls, while unfractioned heparin had a negative effect on flap survival. Low molecular weight heparin, aspirin, pentoxifylline, and hydroxyethyl starch had no impact on the amount of viable flap tissue. A higher complication rate was observed in all experimental groups, but only clopidogrel had a negative impact on the flap viability. Our results add to the body of evidence supporting the conclusion that perioperative antithrombotic treatment improves flap survival. Clopidogrel and hirudin are effective pharmacological agents that significantly increased the viability of perforator-based skin flaps in rats, but at a higher risk of postoperative bleeding.

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