Antiplatelet therapy discontinuation following drug-eluting stent placement: Dangers, reasons, and management recommendations

Issam D. Moussa, Antonio Colombo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Drug-eluting stents (DES) have several advantages over bare-metal stents (BMS), including significantly lower target vessel revascularization. However, DES is associated with a higher incidence of late stent thrombosis (ST). Although late ST after DES placement is uncommon (∼0.4-0.6%/year), it is catastrophic clinical consequences make it a concern. Dual antiplatelet therapy (DAT) with aspirin and clopidogrel is the standard of care for prevention of ST, and DAT discontinuation is associated with a marked increase in ST risk. These guidelines recommend continuing DAT for ≥12 months after DES implantation in patients not at high risk for bleeding. Premature DAT discontinuation is common in clinical practice. Therefore, it is imperative that physicians be aware of factors contributing to discontinuation, including cost, patient education, and actual bleeding events, so as to educate their patients about the risks and benefits of continued DAT. This review highlights the risks of premature DAT discontinuation, discusses common reasons for discontinuation, and offers potential solutions to improve adherence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1047-1054
Number of pages8
JournalCatheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions
Issue number7
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Angioplasty
  • Coronary disease
  • Platelet aggregation inhibitors
  • Thrombosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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