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Comparison of preoperative continuation and discontinuation of aspirin in patients undergoing total hip or knee arthroplasty

Rahel Meier, Regula Marthy, Christoph H Saely, Markus S Kuster, Karlmeinrad Giesinger & Hans Rickli


Preoperative discontinuation of aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) can reduce bleeding risk but may increase the risk of perioperative cardiovascular events.

We retrospectively assessed the impact of preoperative continuation versus discontinuation of aspirin compared with a control group in a cohort of 739 consecutive patients undergoing total hip (THA) (n = 396) or knee arthroplasty (TKA) (n = 343) at a tertiary hospital. Bleeding risk, local complications, orthopaedic outcome, and cardiac and cerebral complications were assessed.

Four hundred and sixty-five patients did not receive antithrombotic or full-dose anticoagulant medication, 175 patients were taking low-dose aspirin, 99 vitamin K antagonists, clopidogrel, or a combination of these drugs. Of the patients taking aspirin, 139 discontinued and 36 continued aspirin. Blood loss and local bleeding complications were comparable in these two groups. TKA patients who continued aspirin more frequently showed marked knee swelling after 1 week than those discontinuing aspirin (35.1 vs. 81.3 %; p = 0.001). However, orthopaedic outcome did not differ significantly between the two groups. There was a trend towards an increased risk of cardiac complications in patients who discontinued aspirin (6.5 vs. 0.0 %; p = 0.107).

Continuation or discontinuation of aspirin did not show a statistically significant difference in the risk of relevant perioperative bleeding complications in our study. Continuation of aspirin was associated with a transitory increase in knee swelling, but had no effect on orthopaedic outcome. Continuation of aspirin may be associated with a favourable perioperative cardiac outcome. Our data support perioperative continuation of aspirin intake in patients undergoing THA or TKA.
citation Meier R, Marthy R, Saely C H, Kuster M S, Giesinger K, Rickli H. Comparison of preoperative continuation and discontinuation of aspirin in patients undergoing total hip or knee arthroplasty. Eur J Orthop Surg Traumatol 2016; 26:921-928.
type journal paper/review (English)
date of publishing 9-9-2016
journal title Eur J Orthop Surg Traumatol (26/8)
ISSN print 1633-8065
pages 921-928
PubMed 27613165
DOI 10.1007/s00590-016-1830-7
contact Karlmeinrad Giesinger