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Drug therapy has revolutionized treatment for patients with cardiovascular disease, and patients presenting for cardiac surgery are prescribed a myriad of pharmacotherapies to manage their underlying cardiac disease; to treat them during the pre-, intra- and postoperative periods; and to optimize long-term patient outcomes after cardiac surgical intervention. In modern cardiac surgical practice, an understanding of optimal drug therapy for each phase of care for these patients is crucial. In this chapter, we will review the mechanism of action, clinical effects, common indications, and underlying evidence, when available, for commonly prescribed drug classes in cardiac surgical practice, including antiplatelet agents, anticoagulants, anti-arrhythmic drugs, thrombolytic therapies, lipid management medications, vasoactive as well as heart failure pharmacotherapies.
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