Aspirin desensitization in patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention: a survey of current practice

Andrew R Chapman, Gordon F Rushworth, Stephen J Leslie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Aspirin remains the mainstay of anti-platelet therapy in cardiac patients. However, if a patient is allergic to aspirin and dual anti-platelet therapy is indicated - such as with percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), then there is no clear guidance. One possibility is aspirin desensitization. A variety of protocols exist for the rapid desensitization of patients with aspirin allergy. The aim of this survey was to assess current knowledge and practice regarding aspirin desensitization in the UK.

METHODS AND RESULTS: We conducted a UK wide survey of all UK 116 PCI centers and obtained complete responses from 40 (35.4%) centers. Of these, just 7 (17.5%) centers had previously desensitised patients; 29 (87.9%) centers suggested a lack of a local protocol prevented them from desensitizing, with 10 (30.3%) unsure of how to conduct desensitization. Only 5 (12.5%) centers had a local policy for aspirin desensitization although 25 (64.1%) units had a clinical strategy for dealing with aspirin allergy; the majority (72%) giving higher doses of thienopyridine class drugs.

CONCLUSIONS: In the UK, there appears to be no consistent approach to patients with aspirin allergy. Patients undergoing PCI benefit from dual anti-platelet therapy (including aspirin), and aspirin desensitization in those with known allergy may facilitate this. Sustained effort should be placed on encouraging UK centers to use desensitization as a treatment modality prior to PCI rather than avoiding aspirin altogether.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-8
Number of pages5
JournalCardiology journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Aspirin
  • Desensitization, Immunologic
  • Drug Hypersensitivity
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Great Britain
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Percutaneous Coronary Intervention
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


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