Ask the doctors: Can I stop taking antiplatelet drugs to have my hip replaced?

Published: February, 2013

Q. I recently had a drug-eluting stent placed in one of my coronary arteries after an episode of severe chest pain. My doctor told me I had to take Plavix every day. Now I feel perfectly fine–except for my right hip. I need a hip replacement, but my orthopedist wants to wait until I'm off Plavix before operating. How long is long enough to be on this drug?

A. A stent is a small cylindrical metal scaffold placed in a coronary artery to hold it open after a blockage has been pushed aside with a balloon. After stenting, it's important to take an antiplatelet drug like clopidogrel (Plavix) to prevent a blood clot from developing inside the stent. Blood-thinning drugs slow down the clotting process, so you would have a lot more bleeding during your hip surgery than you would if you were not on the medication.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »