Objective: To determine the individual variability in the response to aspirin and/or clopidogrel and its impact on graft patency after off-pump coronary artery bypass grafting.
Design: A single-centre prospective randomised controlled study designed according to the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials statement. Randomisation was obtained by a computer-generated algorithm.
Setting: University medical school in Italy.
Patients: 300 patients who underwent off-pump coronary artery bypass grafting were randomised to receive aspirin (n=150) or aspirin plus clopidogrel (n=150).
Intervention: Aspirin 100 mg or aspirin 100 mg plus clopidogrel 75 mg daily was initiated when postoperative chest tube drainage was ≤ 50 ml/h for 2 h and patients were followed up for 12 months.
Main outcome measures: Qualitative and quantitative assessment of platelet function, angiographic evaluation of coronary revascularisation by 64-slice CT and clinical outcome.
Results: In the aspirin group, 49 patients (32.6%) were aspirin resistant and, in the aspirin-clopidogrel group, 19 patients (12.6%) were aspirin and clopidogrel resistant. The platelet response to aspirin was similar in all aspirin responders despite the study arm (Aspirin Reaction Units 313.2 ± 44.8 vs 323.6 ± 53.6; p=0.07). The platelet response to clopidogrel was enhanced by aspirin in patients responsive to both aspirin and clopidogrel (synergistic effect) compared with responders to clopidogrel only (P2Y12 Reaction Units 139.9 ± 15.5 vs 179.4 ± 18.5; p<0.001). Combined therapy was associated with a reduced vein graft occlusion rate (7.4% vs 13.1%; p=0.04). Antiplatelet resistance was a predictor of graft occlusion (RR 3.6, 95% CI 2.5 to 6.9; p<0.001). Synergistic aspirin and clopidogrel activity was a strong predictor of vein graft patency (RR 5.1, 95% CI 1.4 to 16.3; p<0.01).
Conclusions: Combined clopidogrel and aspirin overcome single drug resistances, are safe for bleeding and improve venous graft patency.