Wednesday, November 26, 2014 Headlines & Global News

Avoid Blood Thinners Before Surgery

By Sam Goodwin | May 28, 2013 09:21 AM EDT

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According to a new study by University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, people should avoid taking blood thinners before surgery. The American Academy of Neurology has released a set of guidelines to help people decide when it is safe to take blood thinners and when it is not.

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Blood thinners are usually taken by people who suffer from strokes. These thinners prevent blood clots from forming, preventing another stroke. They are also known to eliminate the changes of first strokes for people with atrial fibrillation, an irregular or fast heartbeat. However, the risk involved with these anti-clotting drugs is that they increase the risk of bleeding which can prove to be very problematic when a person goes in for surgery.

"There may be millions of Americans taking anticlotting drugs to prevent a stroke," said guideline author Melissa J. Armstrong, MD, an assistant professor of neurology with the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. "For every dental procedure, minor medical procedure or surgery these people plan to have, they should work with their doctors to decide if these drugs should be continued to maintain stroke prevention efforts or temporarily stopped to lower the risk of bleeding with the procedure."

Hence, the American Academy of Neurology has released a set of guidelines to help people decided when it is safe to take blood thinners and when it is not. According to the guidelines, the risk of bleeding depends on the type or surgery or procedure the patient is undergoing. For minor surgeries as well as dental procedures the risk is minimal. However, for bigger surgeries and procedures that risk of continuing blood thinners could be fairly large.

"This guideline helps patients and doctors know what the evidence tells us about these different risks," Armstrong said. "A person's health history and preferred course of action are also important to discuss when making this decision."

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