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BACKGROUND/AIMS—There are no nationally agreed guidelines on preoperative management of patients who are on aspirin or warfarin therapy. There is considerable evidence that complication rates in anticoagulated patients are low whereas there are higher rates of thromboembolic complications in those whose therapy is manipulated. This survey aimed to establish oculoplastic specialist and non-specialist ophthalmic surgeons' current management practice of patients before oculoplastic surgery who are taking aspirin or warfarin and to assess the rate of complications in these patients.
METHOD—An anonymous postal questionnaire survey of all ophthalmic consultants and specialist registrars in the Wessex region along with oculoplastic specialists in the Southern region.
RESULTS—The overall response rate was 92%. Preoperative management was influenced both by type of operation and by type of surgeon. A statistically significant higher proportion of surgeons would consider altering warfarin compared with aspirin treatment. For all procedures, non-specialists are unlikely to stop aspirin therapy, and are less likely to stop warfarin before all procedures apart from dacrocystorhinostomy. A significant proportion of surgeons (18%) would allow insufficient time for the coagulation status of the patient to change after altering treatment. A considerable proportion of surgeons (54%) reported that they had seen complications as a result either of stopping or continuing anticoagulation therapy.
CONCLUSIONS—In this survey, at least half the surgeons questioned would consider stopping warfarin before oculoplastic procedures. Over half of all surgeons have seen complications related to aspirin or warfarin, some of which were serious. A suggested approach to minimising patient risk is given.