Patients Taking Anticoagulants (blood Thinners) can Use Core Needle Biopsies

by Tanya Thomas on Sep 30 2008 10:01 AM

Patients who have had concerns about taking anticoagulants (blood thinners) before core needle breast biopsies need worry no more. Because apparently, “They are safer than surgical procedures, require fewer anesthetics, and are accurate,” according to Patricia Somerville, MD, lead author of the study conducted at the Elizabeth Wende Breast Clinic in Rochester, NY.

Offered as an alternative to the surgical biopsy, core needle biopsies are in which tissue samples of an irregular area in the breast are found by mammogram or sonogram.  

The study included 200 women who were taking anticoagulants (blood thinners) and 855 women who were not. Adverse reactions, lumps and bruises, after a woman’s core needle biopsy were recorded. Results showed that lumps or bruising occurred in 34% of women who were taking blood thinners and 26.5% of women who were not taking them. 

"Our study demonstrates that it is safe to perform core needle biopsies on patients taking aspirin and warfarin (another name for coumadin). Patients can remain on their medications and avoid surgical biopsy if the lesion is benign,” said Dr. Somerville. 

This study appears in the October issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.