Background: Cardiovascular complications are important causes of morbidity and mortality in patients undergoing elective non-cardiac surgery, with adverse cardiac outcomes estimated to occur in approximately 4% of all patients. Anti-platelet therapy withdrawal may precede up to 10% of acute cardiovascular syndromes, with withdrawal in the peri-operative setting incompletely appraised. Objectives: The aims of our study were to determine the proportion of patients undergoing elective non-cardiac surgery currently prescribed anti-platelet therapy, and identify current practice in peri-operative management. In addition, the relationship between management of anti-platelet therapy and peri-operative cardiac risk was assessed. Methods: We evaluated consecutive patients attending elective non-cardiac surgery at a major tertiary referral centre. Clinical and biochemical data were collected and analysed on patients currently prescribed anti-platelet therapy. Peri-operative management of anti-platelet therapy was compared with estimated peri-operative cardiac risk. Results: Included were 2950 consecutive patients, with 516 (17%) prescribed anti-platelet therapy, primarily for ischaemic heart disease. Two hundred and eighty nine (56%) patients had all anti-platelet therapy ceased in the peri-operative period, including 49% of patients with ischaemic heart disease and 46% of patients with previous coronary stenting. Peri-operative cardiac risk score did not influence anti-platelet therapy management. Conclusions: Approximately 17% of patients undergoing elective non-cardiac surgery are prescribed anti-platelet therapy, the predominant indication being for ischaemic heart disease. Almost half of all patients with previous coronary stenting had no anti-platelet therapy during the peri-operative period. The decision to cease anti-platelet therapy, which occurred commonly, did not appear to be guided by peri-operative cardiac risk stratification.
- Anti-platelet therapy
- Elective non-cardiac surgery