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Graham LA, Maddox TM, Itani KM, Hawn MT. Coronary stents and subsequent surgery: reported provider attitudes and practice patterns. The American surgeon. 2013 May 1; 79(5):514-23.
Management of antiplatelet therapy in patients with cardiac stents who need subsequent surgery is complex. Current guidelines recommend delaying elective surgery or, if surgery is emergent, proceeding without aspirin cessation. This study assessed provider knowledge, attitudes, and practices for patients with cardiac stents needing subsequent surgery. A national survey was administered to Veterans Administration surgeons, anesthesiologists, and cardiologists. Questions examined guideline awareness and agreement, perceptions of bleeding risk and stent thrombosis, practice patterns for antiplatelet therapy management, and experience with perioperative stent thrombosis. Chi-square tests and generalized estimating equations were used to examine differences in reported practices. Among 295 respondents, guideline awareness (92%) and agreement (93%) were high but higher among cardiologists and anesthesiologists than surgeons. Guideline agreement and personal experience with stent thrombosis were also associated with reported practice patterns. In adjusted models for early surgeries, cardiologists and anesthesiologists were more likely to report continuation of dual therapy as compared with surgeons regardless of stent type (drug-eluting P = 0.03; bare metal P < 0.01). Despite successful guideline adoption, significant variations in practice patterns by provider type were found. Understanding reasons behind the variation and outcomes of various antiplatelet management strategies are important steps in optimizing care of patients with coronary stents undergoing noncardiac surgery.