The evaluation of clopidogrel use in perioperative general surgery patients: A prospective randomized controlled trial

Edward W. Chu, Artur Chernoguz, Celia M. Divino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Background The perioperative safety profile of clopidogrel, a potent antiplatelet agent used in the management of cardiovascular disease, is unknown, and there are no evidence-based guidelines recommending for either its interruption or continuation at this time. The aim of this study was to determine whether patients who are maintained on clopidogrel before general surgical procedures are at increased risk of perioperative bleeding complications. Methods Patients receiving clopidogrel at the time of elective general surgery were randomized to either discontinue clopidogrel 1 week before surgery (group A) or continue clopidogrel into surgery (group B). All other antiplatelet and anticoagulant agents were discontinued before surgery. The primary end points were perioperative bleeding requiring intraoperative or postoperative transfusion of blood or blood components and bleeding-related readmission, reoperation, or mortality within 90 days of surgery. The secondary end points were perioperative myocardial infarction or cerebrovascular accidents within 90 days of surgery. Results Thirty-nine patients were enrolled and underwent 43 general surgical operations. Twenty-one procedures were randomized to group A and 22 to group B. The most commonly performed individual procedures were open inguinal hernia repair (23%), laparoscopic cholecystectomy (21%), open ventral hernia repair (15%), laparoscopic ventral hernia repair (11%), and laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair (9%). No perioperative mortalities, bleeding events requiring blood transfusion, or reoperations occurred. One readmission for intra-abdominal hematoma requiring percutaneous drainage occurred in each group (group A: 4.8% vs group B: 4.5%; P = 1.0). No myocardial infarctions or cerebrovascular accidents were observed or reported. Conclusions The outcomes from this prospective study suggest that, patients undergoing commonly performed elective general surgical procedures can be safely maintained on clopidogrel without increased perioperative bleeding risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1019-1025
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2016


  • Abdominal surgery
  • Bleeding risk
  • Clopidogrel
  • General surgery
  • Noncardiac surgery
  • Plavix


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