Safety of short-term dual antiplatelet therapy after drug-eluting stents: An updated meta-analysis with direct and adjusted indirect comparison of randomized control trials

Heerajnarain Bulluck, Chun Shing Kwok, Alisdair D. Ryding, Yoon K. Loke (Lead Author)

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Background: Duration of dual antiplatelet therapy (DAPT) following drug-eluting stents (DES) remains controversial and is a topic of ongoing research.
Methods: Direct and adjusted indirect comparisons of all the recent randomized control trials (RCTs) were performed to evaluate the safety of short-term versus long-term DAPT following DES.
Results: 8 RCTs were identified and 7 (16,318 subjects) were included. 4 groups of 3 vs 12 months, 6 vs 12 months, 6 vs 24 months and 12 vs 24 months of DAPT were used for direct comparison. There was no significant difference in stent thrombosis, myocardial infarction (MI), stroke and revascularization, cardiovascular and all-cause mortality between the different durations in all 4 groups. Pooling trials of 3–6 months of DAPT against 12 months, we found a significant reduction in the risk of total bleeding (RR 0.61, 95% CI 0.43–0.87). Adjusted indirect comparison between 3 vs 6 months, 3 vs 24 months and 6 vs 24 month duration of DAPT showed no significant differences in risk of death or MI, or revascularization between 3 or 6 months and 24 months. However, 24 months of DAPT was associated with significantly more bleeding than 3 or 6 months.
Conclusions: 3 to 6 months of DAPT following second generation DES and above is safe with no increased risk of thrombotic complications and mortality, and lower bleeding risk. However a tailored approach may be more appropriate for high-risk patients.
Keywords: Percutaneous coronary intervention; Drug-eluting stent; Acute coronary syndrome; Dual antiplatelet treatment; Duration of therapy
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-339
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiology
Early online date13 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2015


  • Percutaneous coronary intervention
  • Drug-eluting stent
  • Acute coronary syndrome
  • Dual antiplatelet treatment
  • Duration of therapy

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