Antiplatelet therapy in the era of late stent thrombosis


Opinion statement

Drug-eluting stents (DES) are the treatment of choice for obstructive coronary artery disease when percutaneous intervention is feasible. Although there are concerns regarding increased incidence of stent thrombosis, subsequent myocardial infarction, and death in patients receiving DES, careful analysis of large randomized trials has shown that risk of stent thrombosis with both bare metal stents (BMS) and DES is small. However, late stent thrombosis seems to occur more frequently with DES and seems to be closely associated with the discontinuation of dual antiplatelet therapy with aspirin and a thienopyridine derivative (usually clopidogrel). Before placing a DES in a patient, the interventional cardiologist must ensure that there are no conditions under which a patient or physician may have to discontinue dual antiplatelet therapy within a year after stent placement. If the cardiologist anticipates premature discontinuation of thienopyridine and aspirin therapy, his or her alternative is to place a BMS or recommend bypass surgery. If a situation arises in which dual antiplatelet therapy may have to be interrupted (eg, emergency or semi-elective surgery), it is strongly recommended that the treating physician consult a cardiologist and follow published guidelines.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Cardiovascular MedicineUniversity Hospitals Case Medical CenterClevelandUSA

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