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Postoperative Thromboprophylaxis With New Oral Anticoagulants is Superior to LMWH in Hip Arthroplasty Surgery: Findings from the Swedish Registry

Journal article
Authors P. Kasina
Alexander Wall
Lasse J. Lapidus
Ola Rolfson
Johan Kärrholm
Szilard Nemes
Bengt I. Eriksson
Maziar Mohaddes
Published in Clinical orthopaedics and related research
Volume 477
Issue 6
Pages 1335-1343
ISSN 1528-1132
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Orthopaedics
Pages 1335-1343
Language en
Subject categories Orthopedics


BACKGROUND: Although the use of thromboprophylaxis is well established, there is no consensus on the preferred thromboprophylaxis regimen after THA; large, population-based studies offer an opportunity to examine this problem in a robust way that can complement results from randomized trials. QUESTIONS/PURPOSES: Using data from a large national registry, we asked: (1) Is there any difference between low-molecular weight heparin (LMWH) and new oral anticoagulants in preventing symptomatic deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE), after THA? (2) Are there any differences in safety parameters, such as bleeding, reoperations and mortality, between LMWH and new oral anticoagulants? METHODS: Between 2008 and 2012, 78,066 THAs were performed in Sweden. This study evaluated 32,663 (42%) of them, selected through the merger of several national registries. These patients underwent unilateral THA due to primary osteoarthritis. They had not experienced any venous thromboembolic events 5 years before the index operation and were not prescribed potent antithrombotic agents, of any type, in the 6 months before the index operation. Additionally, their postoperative thromboprophylaxis was confirmed in a national registry by purchase of prescribed medications. We divided the cohort into two groups: those patients who received new oral anticoagulants (5752, 18%) and those who received LMWH (26,881, 82%) as postoperative thromboprophylaxis. Our primary endpoints were the frequencies of symptomatic DVT and symptomatic PE within 3 months of surgery. Our secondary comparison was a between-group comparison of bleeding (by way of diagnostic coding), reoperation, and mortality within 3 months of surgery. Odds ratios (OR) are presented with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) as pooled results for the two groups after adjustment for duration of thromboprophylaxis (short or extended for at least 28 days), year of the index operation, Elixhauser comorbidity index, sex, age and previous treatment with platelet aggregation inhibitors. RESULTS: The risk of symptomatic DVT was lower in the group that received new oral anticoagulants than the group that received LMWH (0.3% versus 0.6%, OR, 0.47; 95% CI, 0.27-0.76; p = 0.026). The risk of symptomatic PE was lower in the group that received new oral anticoagulants than the group that received LMWH (0.1% versus 0.4%, OR, 0.36; 95% CI, 0.16-0.69; p = 0.005). There was no difference in the risk of bleeding (by way of diagnostic coding) (OR, 1.03; 95% CI, 0.82-1.28; p = 0.688), reoperation (OR, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.71-1.44; p = 0.860) or mortality (OR, 0.83; 95% CI, 0.31-1.88; p = 0.883) between groups. CONCLUSIONS: New oral anticoagulants were associated with a lower risk of symptomatic DVT and symptomatic PE in this large, registry study, and we observed no differences in the risk of bleeding, reoperation, or death between the groups. Although we were able to control for a number of potential confounding variables, we cannot ascertain the indications that drove the prescription decisions in this setting, and there were important between-group differences in terms of duration of thromboprophylaxis (new oral anticoagulants generally were used for a longer period of time after surgery). Future studies, preferably large randomized trials with pragmatic inclusion criteria, to analyze symptomatic DVT, symptomatic PE and death are needed to confirm or refute our findings. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level III, therapeutic study.

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