Venous thromboembolism prophylaxis in medically ill patients: a mixed treatment comparison meta-analysis

Majed S Al Yami, Matthew A Silva, Jennifer L Donovan, Abir O Kanaan
Journal of Thrombosis and Thrombolysis 2018, 45 (1): 36-47
The American College of Chest Physicians guidelines recommend unfractionated heparin (UFH), low molecular weight heparins (LMWHs) or fondaparinux for prevention of venous thromboembolism (VTE), including deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE), in medically-ill patients. Direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) have been evaluated relative to enoxaparin for VTE prophylaxis though head-to-head comparisons of these agents are lacking. Therefore, we conducted a mixed treatment comparisons meta-analysis to evaluate the safety and efficacy of established treatments and DOACs for VTE prophylaxis in medically-ill patients. A comprehensive literature search was conducted to identify randomized trials evaluating UFH, LMWHs or DOACS for the prevention of VTE in medically ill patients. Articles were retrieved and cross-referenced for additional trials, evaluated and entered into ADDIS (version 1.16.6) to generate direct and indirect treatment comparisons for VTE, DVT, PE, death from any cause, and bleeding. Ten articles were included and eight anticoagulants were evaluated in a treatment network representing data on 28,382 patients. We found each treatment had similar efficacy in preventing VTE, DVT, PE, death from any cause and each had similar risk of minor and major bleeding. Overall, placebo was associated with more VTE and DVT events compared to LMWHs and DOACs. We found that UFH, LMWHs and DOACs are comparable in preventing VTE, DVT, PE, and death from any cause and in association with minor and major bleeding. Anticoagulant selection for VTE prophylaxis in medically-ill patients should be individualized by patient characteristics, risks and preferences along with specific pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic considerations.


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