A prospective comparison of warfarin to aspirin for thromboprophylaxis in total hip and total knee arthroplasty

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Journal of Arthroplasty 2012, 27 (1): 1-9.e2
Current orthopedic practice requires consideration of contradictory recommendations regarding pulmonary embolism (PE) prevention among patients undergoing total hip arthroplasty (THA) and knee joint arthroplasty (TKA). A total of 696 consecutive patients underwent elective THA or TKA. Two hundred eighty-one patients received PE risk stratification per American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons guidelines. Of these patients, 152 standard-risk patients received aspirin, and 129 elevated-risk patients received warfarin. The comparator group of 415 patients received American College of Chest Physicians-recommended warfarin without PE risk stratification. Primary study outcomes were symptomatic PE, deep venous thrombosis, major bleeding, and death. The rate of symptomatic PE and venous thromboembolism among standard-risk group patients receiving aspirin was greater than the comparator group (4.6% vs 0.7% and 7.9% vs 1.2%, respectively). Most events (16/18) occurred among patients undergoing TKA. Patients with total joint arthroplasty at standard risk for PE receiving aspirin had a higher rate of symptomatic PE and venous thromboembolism than did patients receiving anticoagulation.

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