Background: Aspirin therapy improves saphenous vein graft (SVG) patency in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft (CABG), however, its use in the pre-operative period remains controversial. Therefore, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized-controlled trials (RCTs) to update the evidence about risk and benefits of pre-operative aspirin therapy in patients undergoing CABG.
Methods: Electronic databases (Medline, Embase, PubMed, Cochrane Library, and Scopus) were searched to identify RCTs evaluating the effect of aspirin versus placebo/control before CABG. Two investigators independently and in duplicate screened citations and extracted data and rated the risk of bias. The strength of evidence was appraised using the Grading of Recommendation Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) approach. Meta-analysis was performed using a random-effects model. The main outcomes of interest were 30-day mortality, peri-operative myocardial infarction (MI), chest tube drainage and SVG occlusion.
Results: A total of 13 RCTs involving 4,377 participants (2,266/2,111 pre-operative aspirin/control) met the inclusion criteria. Pre-operative aspirin reduced the risk of SVG occlusion [risk ratio (RR): 0.69, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.49-0.97, P=0.03, I2=16%], but no differences in mortality (RR: 1.41, 95% Cl: 0.73-2.74, I2=0%) and MI (RR: 0.84, 95% CI: 0.69-1.03, I2=0%) were found. However, pre-operative aspirin increased chest tube drainage (MD: 100.40 mL, 95% CI: 24.32-176.47 mL, P=0.01, I2=84%) and surgical re-exploration (RR: 1.52, 95% CI: 1.02-2.27, P=0.04, I2=8%), with no significant difference in RBC transfusion (RR: 1.06, 95% CI: 0.90-1.25, I2=35%).
Conclusions: Based on trials where the rated body of evidence was of low to very-low quality, pre-operative aspirin improves SVG patency but increases chest tube drainage and need for surgical re-exploration.
Keywords: Coronary artery bypass; aspirin; continuous aspirin exposure; interrupted aspirin exposure; pre-operative.