Thienopyridines resistance and recovery of platelet function after discontinuation of thienopyridines in cardiac surgery patients

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OBJECTIVES: Patients who undergo cardiac operations under the effects of thienopyridines have a greater risk of major postoperative bleeding, transfusions and surgical revision due to bleeding. Discontinuation of thienopyridine is suggested but an adequate recovery period following discontinuation is still under debate, with opinions ranging from 3 to 7 days. The aim of this study was to assess the rate of recovery of thienopyridine-resistant patients and the time taken for resumption of platelet function after discontinuation of thienopyridine, in the setting of patients scheduled for cardiac operations. METHODS: This was a retrospective study, based on 344 patients screened for platelet aggregation before cardiac operations. All the patients received thienopyridines within 7 days prior to the test. Multiple electrode aggregometry 0adenosine diphosphate test was used to assess platelet aggregation before the operation. RESULTS: Thienopyridine resistance rate was 28%. Patients receiving clopidogrel had a significantly higher rate (32%) of resistance, compared with those receiving ticlopidine (14%) and thienopyridine resistance was significantly associated with platelet count (P = 0.006). The time taken to recover platelet function after thienopyridine discontinuation was variable between individuals; the only factor associated with a faster recovery time was the serum bilirubin value (P = 0.002). Platelet aggregation values high enough to avoid major bleeding were reached 3 days after discontinuation (95% confidence interval: 2-4 days); however, a complete recovery of platelet function was reached only after 8 days (95% confidence interval: 7-9 days). CONCLUSIONS: Patient-specific factors determine the effectiveness of thienopyridine treatment and platelet function recovery rate. Among these, platelet count (for thienopyridine resistance) and serum bilirubin values (for platelet function recovery rate) should be considered.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberezt279
Pages (from-to)165-170
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Cardio-thoracic Surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


  • Bleeding
  • Coronary artery bypass surgery
  • Platelets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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