Bariatric Surgery in Patients on Chronic Anticoagulation Therapy

Obes Surg. 2018 Aug;28(8):2225-2232. doi: 10.1007/s11695-018-3120-4.


Background: Perioperative management of chronically anti-coagulated patients undergoing bariatric surgery requires a balance of managing hemorrhagic and thromboembolic risks. The aim of this study is to evaluate the incidence of hemorrhagic complications and their management in chronically anticoagulated (CAT) patients undergoing bariatric surgery.

Methods: A retrospective review of CAT patients undergoing bariatric surgery at an academic center from 2008 to 2015 was studied.

Results: A total of 153 patients on CAT underwent surgery [Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (n = 79), sleeve gastrectomy (n = 63), and adjustable gastric banding (n = 11)] during the study period: 85 patients (55%) were females; median age was 56 years (interquartile range [IQR] 49-64), and median BMI was 49 kg/m2 (IQR 43-56). The most common indications for CAT were venous thromboembolism (n = 87) and atrial fibrillation (n = 83). Median duration of procedure and estimated intraoperative blood loss was 150 min (IQR 118-177) and 50 ml (IQR 25-75), respectively. Thirty-day postoperative complications were reported in 33 patients (21.6%) including postoperative bleeding (n = 19), anastomotic leak (n = 3), and pulmonary embolism (n = 1). Nineteen patients (12%) with early postoperative bleeding were further categorized to intra-abdominal (n = 10), intraluminal (n = 6), and at the port site or abdominal wall (n = 3). All-cause readmissions within 30 days of surgery occurred in 19 patients (12%). There was no 30-day mortality.

Conclusion: In our experience, patients who require chronic anticoagulation medication are higher than average risk for postoperative complications and all-cause readmission rates. Careful surgical technique and close attention to postoperative anticoagulation protocols are essential to decrease perioperative risk in this high-risk cohort.

Keywords: Anticoagulation; Bariatric surgery; Postoperative bleeding; Readmissions; Roux-en-Y gastric bypass; Sleeve gastrectomy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anastomotic Leak / etiology
  • Anticoagulants* / therapeutic use
  • Bariatric Surgery* / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Gastrectomy / adverse effects
  • Gastric Bypass / methods
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity, Morbid* / surgery
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Pulmonary Embolism / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Venous Thromboembolism / etiology


  • Anticoagulants