Objective: Patients who present for coronary surgery often receive preoperative dual antiplatelet therapy with aspirin and a thienopyridine derivative (clopidogrel or prasugrel), especially after a recent acute coronary syndrome. Studies have shown that patients on aspirin and clopidogrel are at increased risk for perioperative bleeding and related events. We sought to examine the impact of dual antiplatelet therapy on bleeding and transfusion requirements in patients undergoing robotic-assisted minimally invasive coronary artery bypass grafting.
Methods: From January 2010 to November 2011, a total of 110 patients underwent robotic-assisted off-pump coronary surgery at our institution. All patients underwent robotic-assisted harvest of the left internal mammary artery from the chest wall. Some patients then underwent direct coronary anastomosis to the left anterior descending coronary artery via a left minithoracotomy, whereas others had a complete robotic endoscopic procedure within the closed chest. The patients were divided into two groups for outcome analysis on the basis of preoperative antiplatelet therapy: group 1 (either aspirin alone or no antiplatelet agents at all; n = 53) and group 2 (aspirin plus clopidogrel or prasugrel; n = 57).
Results: Perioperative chest tube drainage was not significantly different between the patient groups, irrespective of the preoperative antiplatelet agents used. Transfusion requirements and other morbidities were also similar in both groups of patients.
Conclusions: Preoperative dual antiplatelet therapy does not result in significantly increased bleeding or perioperative transfusion requirements. If clinically indicated, it is reasonable to continue preoperative combination antiplatelet therapy in patients undergoing robotic-assisted coronary surgery.