Safety of Carotid Endarterectomy in Patients Concurrently on Clopidogrel

Mark D. Fleming, William M. Stone, Paul Scott, Alyssa B. Chapital, Richard J. Fowl, Samuel R. Money

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Background: Clopidogrel (Plavix®) usage is increasing, primarily for the management of patients with cerebrovascular symptoms and for those receiving drug-eluting coronary artery stents. A significant percentage of these patients will require carotid endarterectomy (CEA) while they are receiving clopidogrel. Recent data have demonstrated an increased incidence of coronary stent thrombosis when clopidogrel is discontinued. The objective of this study was to determine if CEA could be performed safely while patients are continued on clopidogrel therapy. Methods: A retrospective cohort design was employed to review consecutive patients who underwent CEA over a 24-month period ending March 2007. Patients were divided into two groups based on the perioperative use of clopidogrel. Preoperative demographics and postoperative results were compared between the two groups and statistically analyzed. Results: Of the 100 patients who underwent CEA, 19 were taking clopidogrel within 5 days of surgery. This comprised the study group. The control group consisted of the 81 patients who did not receive clopidogrel. Heparin anticoagulation was routinely utilized prior to clamping in both groups. Demographics were similar between the groups. There were no statistical differences in morbidity or mortality between the control group and the clopidogrel group. Combined stroke/death rates were equivalent between the two groups (1.2% control vs. 0% clopidogrel). One hematoma developed in the control group, which did not require operative intervention. Conclusion: In this series, our results suggest that patients concurrently on clopidogrel can safely undergo CEA without increased risk of hematoma or neurological complications. In view of recent data demonstrating adverse outcomes in patients discontinuing clopidogrel, this study is useful in optimally managing this group of patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)612-615
Number of pages4
JournalAnnals of Vascular Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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