Ureteroscopy in Patients Taking Anticoagulant or Antiplatelet Therapy: Practice Patterns and Outcomes in a Surgical Collaborative

J Urol. 2021 Mar;205(3):833-840. doi: 10.1097/JU.0000000000001416. Epub 2020 Oct 9.


Purpose: AUA guidelines recommend ureteroscopy as first line therapy for patients on anticoagulant or antiplatelet therapy and advocate using a ureteral access sheath. We examined practice patterns and unplanned health care use for these patients in Michigan.

Materials and methods: Using the Michigan Urological Surgery Improvement Collaborative (MUSIC) clinical registry we identified ureteroscopy cases from 2016 to 2019. We assessed outcomes and adherence to guidelines based on therapy at time of ureteroscopy: 1) anticoagulant: continuous warfarin or novel oral agent therapy; 2) antiplatelet: continuous clopidogrel or aspirin therapy; 3) control: not on anticoagulant/antiplatelet therapy. We fit multivariate models to assess anticoagulant or antiplatelet therapy association with emergency department visits, hospitalization and ureteral access sheath use.

Results: In total, 9,982 ureteroscopies were performed across 31 practices with 3.1% and 7.8% on anticoagulant and antiplatelet therapy, respectively. There were practice (0% to 21%) and surgeon (0% to 35%) variations in performing ureteroscopy on patients on anticoagulant/antiplatelet therapy regardless of volume. After adjusting for risk factors, anticoagulant or antiplatelet therapy was not associated with emergency department visits. Hospitalization rates in anticoagulant, antiplatelet and control groups were 4.3%, 5.5% and 3.2%, respectively, and significantly increased with antiplatelet therapy (OR 1.48, 95% CI 1.02-2.14). Practice-level ureteral access sheath use varied (23% to 100%) and was not associated with anticoagulant/antiplatelet therapy. Limitations include inability to risk stratify between type/dosage of anticoagulant/antiplatelet therapy.

Conclusions: We found practice-level and surgeon-level variation in performing ureteroscopy while on anticoagulant/antiplatelet therapy. Ureteroscopy on anticoagulant is safe. However, antiplatelet therapy increases the risk of hospitalization. Despite guideline recommendations, ureteral access sheath use is not associated with anticoagulant/antiplatelet therapy.

Keywords: anticoagulants; guideline adherence; lithotripsy, laser; platelet aggregation inhibitors; ureteroscopy.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anticoagulants / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Guideline Adherence
  • Humans
  • Michigan
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Safety
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors / administration & dosage*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Registries
  • Risk Factors
  • Ureteroscopy / methods*


  • Anticoagulants
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors