Clinical venous thromboembolism following joint surgery: effect of extended thromboprophylaxis on its annual frequency and postoperative pattern over 22 years

Ola E Dahl, Tor E Gudmundsen, Are H Pripp, Joakim J Aanesen
Clinical and Applied Thrombosis/hemostasis 2014, 20 (2): 117-23
We describe annual incidences and 6-month postoperative patterns of clinical venous thromboembolism (VTE) in 9078 patients undergoing major joint surgery in a Scandinavian hospital. In cohort I (1989-1999), low-molecular-weight heparin thromboprophylaxis for 7 to 10 days was uniformly introduced, 5-week thromboprophylaxis becoming routine after total hip replacement (THR), partially applied after hip fracture surgery (HFS), but not used after total knee replacement (TKR) thereafter (2003-2011; cohort II). Mean annual VTE incidence was lower in cohort II than in cohort I after THR and HFS but not after TKR. In cohort I, the cumulative VTE incidence increased sharply during the first 5 postoperative weeks in all groups, subsequently plateauing up to 6 months postsurgery. In cohort II, this incidence remained low and stable during 5 weeks post-THR, rising gradually up to 6 months, with a comparable but less pronounced pattern following HFS but not TKR. In conclusion, the VTE risk after major joint surgery seems to persist after 5- and 1-week prophylaxis in patients undergoing hip surgery and TKR, respectively.

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