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October 1991

Should Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs Be Stopped Before Elective Surgery?

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Clinical Immunology, Rheumatology, and Allergy, Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Florida and Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Gainesville (Dr Connelly); Department of Medicine, St Barnabas Medical Center, Livingston, NJ, and Department of Medicine, University of Medicine and Dentistry-New Jersey Medical School, Newark (Dr Panush). Dr Connelly is now in private practice in Tampa, Fla.

Arch Intern Med. 1991;151(10):1963-1966. doi:10.1001/archinte.1991.00400100049008

Purpose.—  To determine if perioperative use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) might be associated with increased postoperative morbidity.

Patients and Methods.—  Records from 165 patients undergoing total hip arthroplasty from 1984 to 1987 were reviewed. Patients taking NSAIDs at hospital admission were compared with those who were not.

Results.—  Patients taking NSAIDs had more postoperative bleeding complications (gastrointestinal tract bleeding and/or hypotension) than did patients not taking those agents. Complications were more frequent in patients using NSAIDs with half-lives longer than 6 hours.

Conclusion.—  Patients undergoing elective surgery should stop taking NSAIDs in time to allow elimination of the drug; those patients who need to take these agents perioperatively should use drugs with short half-lives.(Arch Intern Med. 1991;151:1963-1966)