Background: A considerable number of patients undergoing incisional hernia repair are on anticoagulant or antiplatelet therapy or have existing coagulopathy which may put them at higher risk for postoperative bleeding complications. Data about the optimal treatment of these patients are sparse. This analysis attempts to determine the rate of postoperative bleeding complications following incisional hernia repair and the consecutive rate of reoperation among patients with coagulopathy or receiving antiplatelet and anticoagulant therapy (higher risk group) compared to patients who do not have a higher risk (normal risk group).
Methods: Out of the 43,101 patients documented in the Herniamed Registry who had an incisional hernia repair, 6668 (15.5%) were on anticoagulant or antithrombotic therapy or had existing coagulopathy. The implication of that higher risk profile for onset of postoperative bleeding was investigated in multivariable analysis. Hence, other influential variables were identified.
Results: The rate of postoperative bleeding in the higher risk group was 3.9% (n = 261) and significantly higher compared to the normal risk group at 1.6% (n = 564) (OR 2.001 [1.699; 2.356]; p < 0.001). Additionally, male gender, use of drains, larger defect size, open incisional hernia repair, lower BMI, and higher ASA score significantly increased the risk of postoperative bleeding. The rate of reoperations due to postoperative bleeding was significantly increased in the higher risk group compared to the normal risk group (2.4 vs. 1.0%; OR 1.217 [1.071; 1.382]; p = 0.003). Likewise, the postoperative general complication rate (6.04 vs. 3.66%; p < 0.001) as well as the mortality rate (0.46 vs. 0.17%; p < 0.001) were significantly higher in the higher risk group.
Conclusions: Patients with anticoagulant or antiplatelet therapy or existing coagulopathy who undergo incisional hernia repair have a significantly higher risk for onset of postoperative bleeding. The risk of bleeding complications and complication-related reoperations seems to be lower after laparoscopic intraperitoneal onlay mesh.
Keywords: Anticoagulant therapy; Antithrombotic therapy; Bleeding; Coagulopathy; Incisional hernia; Postoperative complication.