Treatment with dual antiplatelet agents associated with coronary stenting procedures and long-term anticoagulant therapy is increasingly common, but the treatment carries risks during surgical procedures. Evidence-based recommendations have proposed discontinuation of antithrombotic treatment or introduction of bridging therapy in some procedures less invasive and with lower risk of bleeding. However, neurosurgical procedures without discontinuation of antithrombotic treatment and perioperative management have received little investigation.
Between October 2008 and January 2014, 15 consecutive patients (11 males and 4 females; age range 51–75 years [mean 68.2 years]), with sellar and parasellar tumors were treated through the transsphenoidal approach without discontinuation of antithrombotic therapy. Clinical data were compared with another 15 patients, who underwent transsphenoidal surgeries without preoperative antithrombotic therapy.
Gross-total removal of the tumor or total aspiration of the content of Rathke's cleft cyst was achieved in 13 patients, and subtotal removal was achieved in 1 patient with a small remnant in the cavernous sinus. No difference was found in intraoperative bleeding between the antithrombotic agent group and the control group (mean 255 ml vs 215 ml, Mann-Whitney U-test, p = 0.547), and no patient required transfusion. No difference was found in operation time between the antithrombotic agent group and the control group (167.8 minutes vs 150.0 minutes, Mann-Whitney U-test, p = 0.262). All patients were discharged on postoperative Day 12 without neurological deficits.
The present study suggests that discontinuation of antithrombotic therapy may be unnecessary before the typical transsphenoidal surgery. Large randomized clinical trials at multiple centers are needed to confirm these findings.