Effects of dual antiplatelet therapy on graft patency after lower extremity bypass.

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OBJECTIVE: Current guidelines recommend single-agent antiplatelet therapy for patients with symptomatic peripheral artery disease and consideration of dual antiplatelet therapy (DAPT) after surgical revascularization. The objective of this study was both to explore prescribing patterns of single antiplatelet therapy vs DAPT after lower extremity bypass surgery and to investigate the effects of antiplatelet therapy on bypass graft patency.

METHODS: A retrospective analysis of prospectively collected nonemergent infrainguinal lower extremity bypass operations entered in the national Vascular Quality Initiative (2003-2018) with captured long-term follow-up was performed. Patients discharged on aspirin monotherapy or DAPT were identified. Linear regression investigated temporal trends in antiplatelet use. Multivariable Cox regression investigated predictors of primary, primary assisted, and secondary patency.

RESULTS: Of the 13,020 patients investigated, 52.2% were discharged on aspirin monotherapy and 47.8% on DAPT. The proportion of patients discharged on DAPT increased from 10.6% in 2003 to 60.6% in 2018 (P < .001). The DAPT cohort was younger, had higher rates of medical (hypertension, diabetes, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and atherosclerotic (coronary artery disease, prior coronary artery bypass graft or percutaneous coronary intervention, prior lower extremity intervention) comorbidities, and had higher risk bypass procedures (more distal targets, prior inflow bypass procedure, prosthetic conduit use). Multivariable Cox regression analysis did not show any difference between the DAPT and aspirin cohorts in primary patency (hazard ratio [HR], 0.98; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.88-1.10; P = .78), primary assisted patency (HR, 0.93; 95% CI, 0.80-1.07; P = .30), or secondary patency (HR, 0.88; 95% CI, 0.74-1.06; P = .18). On subgroup analysis based on bypass conduit, DAPT was found to have a protective effect on patency only in the prosthetic bypass cohort (primary patency: HR, 0.81 [95% CI, 0.66-1.00; P = .05]; primary assisted patency: HR, 0.74 [95% CI, 0.58-0.94; P = .01]; and secondary patency: HR, 0.60 [95% CI, 0.44-0.82; P < .001]). No patency differences were observed on adjusted subgroup analysis for the other bypass conduits.

CONCLUSIONS: A significant and increasing proportion of patients are discharged on DAPT after lower extremity bypass revascularization. These patients represent a higher risk cohort with more medical comorbidities and higher risk bypass features. After controlling for these differences, DAPT therapy had no beneficial effect on overall bypass graft patency or major adverse limb events. However, on subgroup analysis, DAPT was associated with improved bypass graft patency in patients receiving prosthetic bypass conduits. Further study is warranted to investigate optimal duration of DAPT therapy and its possible bleeding complications in prosthetic bypass patients.





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Medicine and Health Sciences




Department of Medicine, Cardiology Division

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