Conference Coverage

Drug-eluting stent recipients can safely have surgery sooner




CHICAGO – Current U.S. and European guidelines recommending postponement of noncardiac surgery for 6-12 months after drug-eluting stent implantation appear to be excessive, Dr. Gro Egholm reported at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology.

She presented a large retrospective observational study of outcomes in patients undergoing various types of noncardiac surgery in western Denmark during 2005-2012. Among 4,303 patients who had noncardiac surgery within 12 months after receiving a drug-eluting stent (DES), only those whose operations took place during the first month post stenting had increased risks of acute MI and cardiac death within 30 days post surgery.

Dr. Gro Egholm Bruce Jancin/Frontline Medical News

Dr. Gro Egholm

Risks of major adverse cardiac events among the DES recipients who had noncardiac surgery within that first month post–percutaneous coronary intervention were increased roughly 7.5-fold compared with controls, but for surgery performed after that the risks of MI and cardiac death dropped off abruptly and were no different from rates in 20,232 controls without ischemic heart disease or stents who were matched for age, gender, surgical procedure, and Charlson Comorbidity Index, according to Dr. Egholm of Aarhus (Denmark) University.

Moreover, even in DES recipients undergoing noncardiac surgery during the first month post stenting, all-cause mortality was no greater than in controls.

“Surgery could be performed much earlier than recommended,” she concluded.

Her study was carried out by linking data from comprehensive regional and national Danish health care registries. Most patients with DES remained on dual antiplatelet therapy periprocedurally. The exceptions were neurosurgical operations and others where it’s standard that dual antiplatelet therapy must be stopped.

“If you can continue only one antiplatelet agent, aspirin would be the most appealing,” she said.

Of the DES participants, 56% received their device as treatment for an acute coronary syndrome. The average time from stent placement to noncardiac surgery in this large series was 147 days.

Session co-chair Dr. Sunil V. Rao of Duke University in Durham, N.C., called this work “a very important study that’s relevant to daily practice.” However, he found the 23% incidence of noncardiac surgery within 12 months following DES implantation reported in Dr. Egholm’s study to be “shockingly high.” She agreed, noting that rates in some non-Danish registries she’s looked at are more in the 8%-15% range. But Denmark’s health care registries are known for rigorous accuracy and completeness.

Dr. Egholm reported having no financial conflicts regarding her study.

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