Management of Anticoagulants and Antiplatelet Agents During Colonoscopy

Linda Anne Feagins

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Colonoscopy frequently is performed for patients who are taking aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antiplatelet agents, and other anticoagulants. These colonoscopies often involve polypectomy, which can be complicated by bleeding. The risks of precipitating thromboembolic complications if anticoagulants are stopped must be weighed against the risk of postpolypectomy bleeding if these agents are continued. This article systematically reviews the management of anticoagulation during elective and emergency colonoscopy. For patients undergoing colonoscopic polypectomy, the overall risk of postpolypectomy bleeding is <0.5%. Risk factors for postpolypectomy bleeding include large polyp size and anticoagulant use, especially warfarin and thienopyridines. For patients who do not stop aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs prior to colonoscopy, the rate of postpolypectomy bleeding is not significantly different from that for patients who do not take those medications. For patients who continue thienopyridines and undergo polypectomy, the risk of delayed postpolypectomy bleeding is approximately 2.4%. Even for patients who interrupt warfarin, the risk of postpolypectomy bleeding is increased. The direct oral anticoagulants (direct thrombin inhibitors and factor Xa inhibitors) have a rapid onset and offset of action, and periprocedural bridging generally is not necessary. For the thienopyridines, warfarin, and the direct oral anticoagulants, the decision to interrupt or continue these agents for endoscopy will involve considerable exercise of clinical judgment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)786-795
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017


  • Anticoagulants
  • Colonoscopy
  • Postpolypectomy bleeding
  • Thienopyridines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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