Evaluation of safety of endoscopic biopsy without cessation of antithrombotic agents in Japan

J Gastroenterol. 2012 Jul;47(7):770-4. doi: 10.1007/s00535-012-0538-7. Epub 2012 Feb 18.


Background: Although guidelines in Japan recommend the cessation of antithrombotic agents before endoscopic biopsy, the safety of biopsy without the cessation of these agents has not been evaluated to date in this country. Therefore, we aimed to assess the feasibility of biopsy without cessation of antithrombotic agents in Japan.

Methods: This was a prospective single-arm study from a single institution. From May 2010 to November 2011, 112 outpatients who were receiving antithrombotic agents because of their high-risk status for a thromboembolic event (after implantation of coronary stent, after valve replacement, or a previous history of thromboembolic event or heart failure due to atrial fibrillation) were enrolled. We evaluated the rate of severe bleeding complications within 2 weeks after endoscopy and the endoscopic bleeding time (EBT) after biopsy in patients who underwent biopsy for endoscopic findings requiring pathology assessment.

Results: Among the 112 participants, 101 biopsies were performed for 48 and 12 outpatients who had had esophagogastroduodenoscopy and colonoscopy, respectively. All the biopsies provided enough specimens to evaluate pathologically. Hemostasis after biopsy was confirmed for all biopsies during endoscopic observation. No patients complained of any bleeding symptoms in the 2-week observation period after biopsy (0/101; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0-3.6%). Concerning the EBT (median 2.2 ± 1.8 min, range 0.5-9 min), there were no significant differences between patients receiving single antithrombotic agents and those receiving multiple agents (2.4 ± 1.4 vs. 2.1 ± 2.1 min), nor were there any significant differences between patients not receiving and receiving warfarin (2.3 ± 1.8 vs. 2.2 ± 1.8 min).

Conclusion: Biopsy without cessation of antithrombotic agents, as recommended in Western guidelines, can also be acceptable for Japanese people if performed carefully.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biopsy / methods
  • Colonoscopy / adverse effects
  • Colonoscopy / methods*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Endoscopy, Digestive System / adverse effects
  • Endoscopy, Digestive System / methods*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Fibrinolytic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Fibrinolytic Agents / adverse effects
  • Fibrinolytic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Hemorrhage / epidemiology*
  • Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Thromboembolism / prevention & control
  • Time Factors
  • Warfarin / adverse effects
  • Warfarin / therapeutic use


  • Fibrinolytic Agents
  • Warfarin