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Jefferson scientists find that plavix appears to be safe during and after heart bypass

(PHILADELPHIA) -- Heart surgeons dont have to choose between taking a coronary-bypass patient off the popular anti-clotting drug clopidogrel (Plavix) after off-pump heart bypass surgery or having the patient bleed excessively in the days following surgery, according to a new study by researchers at Jefferson Medical College.

The study, to be presented at the American College of Cardiologys 56th Annual Scientific Session on March 27 at 9 am (abstract 1027-18), found that Plavix, when used in addition to aspirin, will not worsen bleeding after off-pump heart bypass surgery.

The researchers led by David Whellan, M.D., assistant professor of Medicine at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, conducted a retrospective study of more than 7, 000 patients who underwent off-pump heart bypass surgery. They report that the anti-platelet drug program appears safe--post surgery--when used with aspirin. Overall, they found that patients who took clopidogrel and aspirin experienced less gastrointestinal bleeding and fewer strokes and other cardiovascular complications than patients who were on aspirin alone.

"The new off-pump strategy is a proven surgical advance in the treatment of heart disease," Dr. Whellan says. "Improving outcomes for patients undergoing bypass surgery and keeping the new bypass grafts open is a critical issue. One possible strategy is to use clopidogrel, but there have been safety concerns, particularly regarding the risk of bleeding after surgery."

The researchers used data provided by the University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC), an alliance of 97 academic medical centers and 149 of their affiliated hospitals representing nearly 90 percent of the nations non-profit academic medical centers. The data were culled from over 800 institutions including more than 70 academic medical centers.

Data were used from patients who underwent off-pump coronary artery bypass surgery, known as OPCAB
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Contact: Nan Myers
nan.myers@jefferson.edu
215-955-6300
Thomas Jefferson University
27-Mar-2007


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