The risk of iatrogenic bleeding in acute coronary syndromes and long-term mortality
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PURPOSE OF REVIEW: This review examines the association between bleeding and adverse outcomes in patients with acute coronary syndrome and explores mechanisms behind this association and strategies for reducing bleeding complications in acute coronary syndrome. RECENT FINDINGS: Bleeding is a common complication of antithrombotic treatment in acute coronary syndrome, and major bleeding occurs in around 5% of patients. Important risk factors for major bleeding include increasing age, female sex, renal impairment, and invasive procedures. Recent studies suggest that major bleeding in patients with acute coronary syndrome is independently associated with an increase of early and long-term morbidity and mortality. This may be due to the direct effects of anaemia and hypovolaemia, the treatment modification or withdrawal, or the adverse effects of transfusion. Bleeding complications may be reduced by use of new antithrombotic agents and by improved attention to dosing with current agents. SUMMARY: Future studies should examine the effects on overall morbidity and mortality of strategies designed to reduce bleeding complications in patients with acute coronary syndrome. There is a need to apply uniform definitions of bleeding severity. Future trials should report all clinically relevant bleeding outcomes and transfusions. Studies are needed to investigate methods to reduce the risk of bleeding, better understand mechanisms of adverse outcome after bleeding, and establish best practice for the management of bleeding including appropriate use of transfusion in patients with acute coronary syndrome.
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