Background: Endoscopic submucosal dissection is a novel technique that is expected to be a curative treatment for early gastric cancers. Anti-coagulants and anti-platelet agents are widely used, especially in elderly patients, to prevent thromboembolic disease. However, the feasibility of endoscopic submucosal dissection for such patients has not been investigated. Aims: To determine the feasibility of endoscopic submucosal dissection for patients using anti-coagulant and anti-platelet agents via retrospective investigation of clinical outcomes. Methods: Of 408 patients with 444 early gastric cancers consecutively treated by endoscopic submucosal dissection from January 2000 to December 2007 in our hospital, 47 patients with 56 early gastric cancers were receiving anti-coagulants or anti-platelet agents. All patients were classified into groups for high and low risk of thromboembolism. In 44 low-risk patients, these agents were stopped for 1 week before and after treatment. Only three high-risk patients underwent intravenous heparin replacement during the cessation period. Results: Comparison with other patients showed no significant differences in complete en-bloc resection (96.4%) or perforation (1.8%). Postoperative bleeding requiring endoscopic treatment occurred for six early gastric cancers (10.7%) in the anti-coagulant and anti-platelet group; this frequency was slightly higher than that observed for other patients (5.2%). The healing of endoscopic submucosal dissection ulcers was not delayed by anti-coagulant and anti-platelet treatment (91% in the scarring stage) when checked at the 8th week after endoscopic submucosal dissection. Conclusion: The clinical outcomes of endoscopic submucosal dissection for early gastric cancers in patients receiving anti-coagulants or anti-platelet agents indicated that endoscopic submucosal dissection for low-risk patients could be a reliable technique with equivalent efficacy and risk in comparison with that for other early gastric cancer patients.
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