The effects of clopidogrel on elderly traumatic brain injured patients.
J Trauma. 2008 Dec;65(6):1303-8. PMID: 19077618
Department of Surgery, University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine and Queens Medical Center, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.
BACKGROUND: Patients are living longer with cardiovascular disease managed with antiplatelet drugs. These seniors are asked to be more physically active and are prone to falls or injuries. Few have studied the mortality or morbidity from anticoagulants in patients with traumatic brain injuries (TBI). With the increasing use of clopidogrel in the elderly, studies on the consequences of TBI are warranted. METHODS: This is a retrospective case-controlled study using a trauma data registry of 3,817 closed head trauma cases (2001-2005). Patients with preinjury use of clopidogrel, aspirin or warfarin, and evidence of traumatic intracranial bleeding were identified (n = 131). These were compared with a frequency-matched control group (n = 178) with similar age, gender, Glasgow Coma Scale, and Injury Severity Scores. Main outcome measure included mortality, hospital or intensive care unit duration, and discharge disposition. RESULTS: Of 131 patients on anticoagulants, patients on clopidogrel (n = 21) were more likely to die (OR = 14.7; 95% CI: 2.3-93.6) and be discharged to an inpatient long-term facility (OR = 3.25; 95%CI: 1.06-9.96). Length of hospital stay and intensive care unit stay were not different from control. Mortality in aspirin patients (n = 90) and warfarin patients (n = 20) did not differ from control. Warfarin patients had increased hospital and ICU stay (10.6 and 5.3 days) when compared with the control (4.7 and 0.9 days, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: TBI patients on clopidogrel may have increased long-term disability and fatal consequences when compared with patients who are not on these drugs or on other anticoagulants. Patients on clopidogrel should be advised of safety when engaging in potentially dangerous activities to avoid the consequences of TBI.