Endoscopy in Patients on Antiplatelet Agents and Anticoagulants

  • Andrew M. VeitchEmail author
Endoscopy (P Siersema, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Endoscopy

Opinion statement

Management of patients on anticoagulant or antiplatelet therapy undergoing endoscopy presents a balance of risks between haemorrhage due to the procedure, and thrombosis due to discontinuation of antithrombotic therapy. Haemorrhage is usually controllable endoscopically, but thrombosis could, on occasion, result in myocardial infarction or stroke, with permanent disability or death. For elective procedures, there is adequate time to plan best management of antithrombotic therapy. International guidelines have been published, but recommendations are based on limited evidence and consultation with appropriate medical specialists, and the patient is important. Patients on dual antiplatelet therapy for coronary stents are at particularly high risk of thrombosis if therapy is interrupted. Direct oral anticoagulants have been a great advance in the management of anticoagulation but can present an increased risk of spontaneous gastrointestinal haemorrhage, as well as a difficult management situation in haemorrhage following endoscopic therapy. For elective endoscopic procedures, there may be a suitable alternative investigation, and some patients can have therapy deferred if high-risk antithrombotic therapy is temporary. Gastrointestinal haemorrhage on antithrombotic therapy can present a life-threatening situation from potential thrombosis as well as haemorrhage. Management is particularly challenging on direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs), but a reversal agent is available for dabigatran, and others are in development. The safest time to restart antithrombotic therapy after therapeutic procedures or haemorrhage has been little studied, and the relevant risk factors are discussed together with advice on management. Although guidelines have been produced, there remains much uncertainty in the management of antithrombotic therapy for endoscopy, particularly for newer agents, and further research is required.


Anticoagulant Antiplatelet Endoscopy Haemorrhage Thrombosis Direct oral anticoagulant 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Andrew M. Veitch has received lecture fees and is an advisory board member of Olympus USA.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.New Cross HospitalWolverhamptonUK

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