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The role of aspirin in post-polypectomy bleeding – a retrospective survey

Antony Pan1, Martin Schlup12, Ralf Lubcke1, Annie Chou1 and Michael Schultz12*

Author affiliations

1 Gastroenterology Unit, Southern District Health Board, Dunedin, New Zealand

2 Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

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Citation and License

BMC Gastroenterology 2012, 12:138  doi:10.1186/1471-230X-12-138

Published: 10 October 2012



Bleeding following colonoscopic polypectomy is a common complication and has been reported to occur in up to 6.1% of patients. Several risk factors have been discussed but their overall contribution to post-polypectomy bleeding remains controversial. The aim of the study was to determine the rate of post polypectomy bleeding and to analyse the role of potential risk factors especially the role of aspirin.


We conducted a retrospective cohort study of all patients who underwent polypectomy at Dunedin Hospital, New Zealand between January 2007 and June 2009.


During the study period, 514 patients underwent colonoscopy with polypectomy and a total of 1502 polyps were removed. From further analysis we excluded 21 patients; 15 patients had surgery immediately after colonoscopy for the diagnosis of colorectal carcinoma and 6 patients presented with symptoms of an acute lower gastrointestinal bleed prior to colonoscopy. Of the remaining 493 patients, 11 patients (2.2%) presented with post-polypectomy bleeding within 30 days of the investigation of which 8 were on aspirin. In total 145 patients were taking aspirin prior to colonoscopy and 348 patients were not taking aspirin. The use of aspirin was associated with an increased prevalence of post-polypectomy bleeding (OR=6.72, 95% C.I. 1.76 to 25.7). Interestingly, the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) was not associated with risk of bleeding after polypectomy (OR=2.82, 95% C.I, 0.34 to 23.3).


Our study confirmed a significantly increased risk of lower gastrointestinal bleeding following polypectomy in patients taking aspirin. We would recommend approaching the patient on aspirin coming forward for a colonoscopy with potential polypectomy with caution.

Post polypectomy bleeding; Aspirin