Beverly Hills, Calif.-based Westside Medical Imaging (WMI) has developed special protocols for patients in need of colonoscopy who take anticoagulant blood thinners such as Coumadin (warfarin) or antiplatelet medications including aspirin, and Plavix (clopidogrel). Patients with atrial fibrillation, stroke, mechanical heart valve and drug eluting coronary stents could be placing themselves in danger if they stop their blood thinners or antiplatelet medications for any amount of time, according to a release.
The imaging facility is offering patients a choice — if they are on such medications — to consider virtual colonoscopy (aka CT colonography). This type of approved screening exam for colon cancer and colon polyps does not require stopping anticoagulants and antiplatelet medications. WMI uses a Siemens 64-slice CT scan to obtain colon imaging. Virtual colonography can be performed with the usual bowel preparation to insure optimal imaging without the general anesthesia necessary for conventional colonoscopy. With this examination taking only one hour without general anesthesia, most patients can immediately return to carrying out their normal activities, WMI said.