The anti-platelet medications aspirin and Plavix are VERY IMPORTANT to take after having a stent placed in one of the heart arteries. These medications are commonly called blood thinners but
are actually anti-platelet meds which mean they also prevent blood clots from forming by preventing platelets (which are a type of blood cell) from clumping together - which is the intial process of a blood clot. I agree completely with your cardiologist - this is the healthcare provider who should be making the decision when it is okay to temporary stop the "blood thinners" before surgery. It takes time for the metal on the heart stent to grow tissue over it, so the metal is exposed to the blood and that is why you need the anti-platelet or "blood thinning" medications. If you were to stop the medications too early, before the tissue is covering the metal of the stent - blood clots can form. These blood clots could totally block off the blood vessel in the heart and lead to a heart attack. I worked in the heart catheterization lab for many years and unfortunately saw many patients come in with heart attacks because they stopped their Aspirin and/or Plavix too early or temporarily before elective surgery. You should talk to your cardiologist and find out when he/she feels it would be safe to temporarily stop your Aspirin and Plavix, it depends on the type of stent you received and if it was a "medicated stent" (which could require Aspirin and Plavix therapy even longer).
Uncle Joe, We definitely agree that each person needs to discuss their individual situation with their healthcare provider.
Just to clarify INR monitoring is necessary with warfarin/coumadin ("true" anticoagulants) Plavix and Aspirin, do not affect the same pathway they are antiplatelet medications and INR monitoring is not helpful.