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Influence of pre-operative use of serotonergic antidepressants (SADs) on the risk of bleeding in patients undergoing different surgical interventions: a meta-analysis




Serotonergic antidepressants (SADs) are one of the most widely prescribed group of drugs. Of late, the use of SADs is being associated with an increased risk of perioperative bleeding. However, the results are inconsistent. The present analysis was planned to evaluate the association between preoperative SADs use and the risk of bleeding/mortality in patients undergoing surgery.


Studies that had reported the effects of preoperative SADs use on the perioperative bleeding outcomes and/or mortality in adult patients undergoing surgical interventions were identified and evaluated for inclusion in the analysis. Outcomes evaluated were reoperation for bleeding event, requirement of blood/RBC transfusion and mortality. A meta-analysis was conducted, and a pooled estimate of odds ratio (OR) was calculated using the inverse variance method.


Eight cohort studies, comprising a total of 79 976 SADs users and 485 336 non-antidepressant users were included in the final analysis. SADs use was not associated with increased risk of requirement of reoperation for bleeding event [OR = 1.48 (0.84−2.62)]. However, there was an increased requirement of transfusion [OR = 1.19(1.09−1.30)], which was not observed in the subgroup of patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) [OR = 1.06(0.90−1.24)]. SADs use was associated with a substantial increase in mortality [OR = 1.53 (1.15−2.04)] in patients undergoing CABG but not in the overall population [OR = 1.1 (0.99−1.22)].


Preoperative SADs use is associated with increased bleeding risk with respect to requirement of transfusion; nevertheless, the results should not be generalized to all surgical groups. The divergence between bleeding risk and mortality in CABG surgery patients needs further evaluation.