Many patients who have experienced strokes or mini strokes take blood thinners such as aspirin or warfarin (Coumadin) to reduce the risk of blood clots that can cause strokes.
This can pose a dilemma when a patient needs to undergo a surgical procedure, because blood thinners can increase the risk of bleeding. But a new guideline from the American Academy of Neurology advises that it is likely safe to continue taking blood thinners before minor procedures such as dental procedures, cataract surgery or dermatologic procedures. The guideline is published in Neurology, the official scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
"This guideline is expected to be useful to neurologists, primary care physicians, surgeons, dentists and other healthcare providers caring for these patients," said Dr. Jose Biller, chair of the Department of Neurology of Loyola University Medical Center. Dr. Biller is one of nine co-authors of the guideline; three other authors also have Loyola ties.
The physicians evaluated evidence from 133 studies. Among their findings:
The authors provide three hypothetical examples of how the guideline could be applied:
First author Dr. Melissa J. Armstrong began work on the guideline while she was a neurology resident at Loyola. She now is an assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Other guideline authors with Loyola ties are Dr. Jose Biller and Dr. Michael Schneck, professors in the Department of Neurology of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine and Dr. Rima Dafer, a former associate professor of Neurology at Loyola who now is at NorthShore University HealthSystem.
The guideline was developed with financial support from the American Academy of Neurology. None of the authors received reimbursement, honoraria or stipends for their participation in development of the guideline.
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