Bleeding risk after invasive procedures in aspirin/NSAID users: polypectomy study in veterans

Am J Med. 2012 Dec;125(12):1222-7. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2012.05.030.


Background: Aspirin, by virtue of inhibition of platelet hemostatic function, is withheld before many invasive procedures because of the bleeding risk. American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy guidelines acknowledge the paucity of "high quality data" to make recommendations regarding the use of aspirin (ASA) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) before endoscopic procedures. Yet the majority of endoscopists hold ASA/NSAIDs before polypectomy.

Methods: This single-center, retrospective, cohort study was conducted at Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Syracuse, NY. The objectives were to assess the postpolypectomy bleeding risk in ASA/NSAID users in a large cohort of veterans undergoing colonoscopic polypectomy and to identify risk factors associated with postpolypectomy bleeding. All patients undergoing polypectomy between January 2002 and October 2007 were eligible. Patients on anticoagulants/other antiplatelet agents were excluded. Patients were selected randomly by cluster sampling techniques. Electronic medical and pharmacy records were reviewed for patient demographics, polypectomy techniques, and postpolypectomy bleeding rates. Univariate analysis was performed between patients on ASA and NSAIDs (group A) versus those not on ASA or NSAIDs (group B). Multiple regression analysis was performed to identify independent risk factors associated with postpolypectomy bleeding.

Results: Five hundred two (43%) of 1174 patients (mean age 66 years, 92% white) were on ASA or NSAIDs, or both. There was no significant difference between postpolypectomy bleeding rates among the 2 groups (3.2% vs 3.0%). Age, sex, polyp characteristics, and polypectomy techniques were comparable between groups A and B. In multiple logistic regression analysis, ASA or NSAID use was not a significant risk factor for postpolypectomy bleeding. Number of polyps removed per patient was the only risk factor significantly associated with postpolypectomy bleeding (P <.01, odds ratio 1.3, 95% confidence interval, 1.18-1.43).

Conclusions: In this large study, use of ASA or NSAIDs did not increase the risk of postpolypectomy bleeding. Cessation of ASA/NSAIDs before colonoscopy/polypectomy is therefore unnecessary.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Aspirin / therapeutic use*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Colonic Polyps / surgery*
  • Colonoscopy*
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / epidemiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / therapy
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Postoperative Complications*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • United States
  • Veterans


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Aspirin