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Invited Critique
January 19, 2009

Antiplatelet Agents in the Perioperative Period—Invited Critique

Arch Surg. 2009;144(1):76. doi:10.1001/archsurg.144.1.76

The recent surge in the development and use of antiplatelet agents has underscored their central role in the management of vascular disease. As the number of vascular interventional procedures continues to increase, it is anticipated that more research will be done to further refine antiplatelet agents and discover new medications as well as find new uses for them.

The information in this article is especially useful to surgeons as they are most likely to encounter a patient who is taking antiplatelet agents and is in need of an urgent or emergent surgical procedure. But, as practice boundaries continue to blur, surgeons as well as our colleagues in radiology, neurology, neurosurgery, orthopedics, emergency medicine, and other specialties will continue to prescribe antiplatelet medications and/or take care of patients whose medication regimen includes them. To that end, O’Riordan and colleagues have opened a door for surgeons to lead the way on enhancing patient safety relative to the use of these medications. To start, this article allows essential information about these medications to be at the fingertips of those specialists using them. That information provides a common language so that care can be delivered in a safe and efficient manner. Incorporating such essential information into a protocol is a key step toward placing patient safety at the forefront. Best practices and practice guidelines are already an integral part of medical and surgical practice and trends are showing improved care with this approach. We can no longer deliver the best care to patients by operating in silos. A central repository of information can be the beginning of providing efficient and safe patient care in a multidisciplinary environment. This should not be an opportunity missed to improve patient care and safety.

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