Gastrointestinal endoscopy in patients on anticoagulant therapy and antiplatelet agents
Periprocedural management of antithrombotics for gastrointestinal endoscopy is a common clinical issue, given the widespread use of these drugs for primary and secondary cardiovascular prevention. For diagnostic procedures, with or without biopsy, no adjustments in antithrombotics are usually needed. For operative procedures, balancing the risk of periprocedural hemorrhage with the continuation of antithrombotics against the chance of recurrent thromboembolic events with their discontinuation may be challenging. Oral anticoagulants need to be temporarily withheld, and consideration must be given to whether a periendoscopic "bridge" therapy, typically a low-molecular-weight heparin, should be used in order to minimize the risk of thromboembolic events. Although some emerging evidence has shown that patients receiving heparin bridging appear to be at increased risk of overall and major bleeding and at similar risk of thromboembolic events compared to controls, bridging therapy is still recommended for patients on vitamin K antagonists who are at high thrombotic risk. Conversely, bridging therapy is usually not needed for patients taking new oral agents, which are characterized by shorter half-lives, and a rapid offset and onset of action. Management of antiplatelet therapy requires special care in patients on secondary prevention, especially those with coronary stents. This review is intended to summarize the recommendations of updated International Guidelines designed to help the decision-making process in such an intricate field.
Keywords Gastrointestinal endoscopy, antithrombotics, direct oral anticoagulants, vitamin K antagonists, thrombotic risk
Ann Gastroenterol 2017; 30 (1): 7-14