Anticoagulation before heart surgery

Thu, Sep 26th 2013

Everyday Health

Should you stop taking your anticoagulant medication before heart surgery? A new study suggests maybe not.

For decades, it's been standard practice for people to not take blood thinners before surgery in order to prevent excessive bleeding during or after their procedures. But recent research, published in The New England Journal of Medicine in May 2013, found that performing surgery to implant a heart-stimulating device — a pacemaker or a cardioverter defibrillator — without stopping the anticoagulant warfarin actually reduced the risk for bleeding after the operation.

Steven Reisman, MD, a cardiologist and director of the New York Cardiac Diagnostic Center, said that the current standard of care calls for warfarin to be stopped before surgery in those patients who are considered low-risk for stroke.

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