Effect of anticoagulation on endothermal ablation of the great saphenous vein

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Journal of Vascular Surgery


Background: A growing number of patients who are on systemic anticoagulation with warfarin require endovenous thermal ablation for reflux disease in the great saphenous vein (GSV). Little is known about the effects of anticoagulation on periprocedural bleeding and long-term closure rates of the treated veins. This study evaluated the effects of uninterrupted anticoagulation in patients undergoing endovenous thermal ablation. Methods In this prospective observational study, 88 limbs of patients on warfarin (anticoagulation group [AG]) who underwent endovenous thermal ablation for GSV reflux disease were compared with 92 limbs in patients receiving no anticoagulation or antiplatelet agents (control group [CG]). Forty percent of AG patients were also receiving antiplatelet therapy. Periprocedural bleeding and closure rate at 1 year were evaluated. Results No major bleeding occurred in either group. Minor bleeding was noted in 8 of 88 procedures in the AG vs 4 of 92 in the CG (P = 0.24); all in patients receiving radiofrequency ablation. Four of the eight minor bleeds in the AG were noted in patients receiving "triple therapy" with warfarin, aspirin, and clopidogrel or ticlopidine. Triple therapy in the AG was associated with a higher risk of minor bleeding compared with the CG (relative risk, 13.0; 95% confidence interval, 4.10-41.19, P < .001). All treated venous segments remained closed at the 1-year follow-up in both groups. Conclusions In this relatively small, nonrandomized study comparing endovenous thermal ablation in patients with and without warfarin, no differences were found in periprocedural risk of major bleeding or closure rate of the treated venous segments. Minor bleeding was increased in patients receiving triple therapy with warfarin, aspirin, and a thienopyridine who underwent radiofrequency ablation. © 2011 Society for Vascular Surgery.

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