Background: Due to the increase of cardiovascular diseases acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) has become one of the most frequently prescribed drugs these days. Despite the rising number of patients with ASA medication presenting for elective general and abdominal surgery and the potentially increased risk of hemorrhage in these patients, there are no clear, evidence-based guidelines for the perioperative use of antiplatelet agents. The present randomised controlled trial was designed to evaluate the safety and optimize the use of ASA in the perioperative management of patients undergoing general and abdominal surgery.
Methods/design: This is a two-arm, monocenter randomised controlled trial. Patients scheduled for elective surgical treatment (i.e. inguinal hernia repair, cholecystectomy and colorectal resections) with ASA as a permanent medication are randomised equally to perioperative continuation or discontinuation of ASA. Patients who are randomised in the discontinuation group stop the administration of ASA five days prior to surgical treatment and start intake of ASA on postoperative day 5. Fifty-two patients will be enrolled in this trial. The primary outcome is the incidence of postoperative bleeding and cardiovascular events at 30 days after surgery. In addition a set of general as well as surgical variables are analysed.
Discussion: This is a randomised controlled two-group parallel trial designed to assess the safety and optimize the use of ASA in the perioperative management of patients undergoing general and abdominal surgery. The results of this pilot study build the basis for a confirmative randomised controlled trial that may help to clarify the use and potential risk/benefits of perioperative ASA medication in patients undergoing elective surgery.
Trial registration: The trial is registered with Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN45810007.