Surgery 2014 Jan 24;155(1):39-46. Epub 2013 Jul 24.
Department of Surgery and the Jefferson Pancreas, Biliary and Related Cancer Center, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA. Electronic address:
Background: Antiplatelet therapy with aspirin is prevalent among patients presenting for operative treatment of pancreatic disorders. Operative practice has called for the cessation of aspirin 7-10 days before elective procedures because of the perceived increased risk of procedure-related bleeding. Our practice at Thomas Jefferson University has been to continue aspirin therapy throughout the perioperative period in patients undergoing elective pancreatic surgery.
Study Design: Records for patients undergoing pancreatoduodenectomy, distal pancreatectomy, or total pancreatectomy between October 2005 and February 2012 were queried for perioperative aspirin use in this institutional research board-approved retrospective study. Statistical analyses were performed with Stata software.
Results: During the study period, 1,017 patients underwent pancreatic resection, of whom 289 patients (28.4%) were maintained on aspirin through the morning of the operation. Patients in the aspirin group were older than those not taking aspirin (median 69 years vs 62 years, P < .0001). The estimated intraoperative blood loss was similar between the two groups, aspirin versus no aspirin (median 400 mL vs 400 mL, P = .661), as was the rate of blood transfusion anytime during the index admission (29% vs 26%, P = 0.37) and the postoperative duration of hospital stay (median 7 days vs 6 days, P = .103). The aspirin group had a slightly increased rate of cardiovascular complications (10.1% vs 7.0%, P = .107), likely reflecting their increased cardiovascular comorbidities that led to their physicians recommending aspirin therapy. Rates of pancreatic fistula (15.1% vs 13.5%, P = .490) and hospital readmissions were similar (16.9% vs 14.9%, P = .451).
Conclusion: This is the first study to report that aspirin therapy is not associated with increased rates of perioperative bleeding, transfusion requirement, or major procedure related complications after elective pancreatic surgery. These data suggest that continuation of aspirin is safe and that the continuation of aspirin should be considered acceptable and preferable, particularly in patients with perceived substantial medical need for treatment with antiplatelet therapy.