The Spanish study addressed interruptions in double anti-platelet therapy due to noncompliance, surgery or other medical decisions in a group of 1,600 patients. Most of the 10.6 percent of patients who discontinued the therapy did so temporarily, but this practice didn't translate into more serious consequences compared to those whose therapy was not interrupted.
"The big takeaway is that neither of these studies fundamentally change the way I think about these therapies for my patients," Garratt said. "But the Spanish study increases my confidence in the way I'm managing these patients."
But Dr. Christopher Cove, associate professor of medicine and assistant director of the cardiac catheterization lab at University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, cautioned it would be a mistake to think it's safe to stop double anti-platelet therapy based on the new research. Larger studies are needed, he added.
"We know that [double anti-platelet therapy] is beneficial as compared to aspirin alone in large groups of patients, and that there's a high risk of bleeding with it," Cove said. "What we really need to know is, if we have to stop double anti-platelet therapy, when is the safe time to do that."
The American Heart Association has more about angioplasty and stents.
SOURCES: Christopher Cove, M.D., associate professor, medicine, and assistant director, cardiac catheterization lab, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, N.Y.; Kirk Garratt, M.D., director, clinical
All rights reserved