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Venous thromboembolism prophylaxis in meningioma surgery - a population based comparative effectiveness study of routine mechanical prophylaxis with or without preoperative low molecular weight heparin

Journal article
Authors Kristin Sjåvik
Jiri Bartek jr.
Ole Solheim
Tor Ingebrigtsen
Sasha Gulati
Lisa M. Sagberg
Petter Förander
Asgeir Store Jakola
Published in World Neurosurgery
Volume 88
Pages 320–326
ISSN 1878-8750
Publication year 2016
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation
Pages 320–326
Language en
Keywords Anticoagulants; Low-molecular-weight heparin; Meningioma; Neurosurgery; Postoperative hemorrhage; Venous thromboembolism
Subject categories Clinical Medicine, Cancer and Oncology, Neurosurgery


Object: Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a serious complication after intracranial meningioma surgery. To what extent systemic prophylaxis with pharmacotherapy is beneficial with respect to VTE risk, or associated with increased risk of bleeding and postoperative hemorrhage, remains debated. The current study aimed to clarify the risk-benefit of prophylactic pharmacotherapy initiated the evening before craniotomy for meningioma. METHODS: In a Scandinavian population-based cohort we conducted a retrospective review of 979 operations for intracranial meningioma between 2007 and 2013 at three neurosurgical centers with population-based referral. We compared two different treatment strategies analyzing frequencies of VTE and proportions of postoperative intracranial hematomas requiring surgery or intensified subsequent observation or care (ICU or other intensified observation and/or treatment). One neurosurgical center favored preoperative prophylaxis with low-molecular weight heparin (LMWH) ("LMWH routine group") in addition to mechanical prophylaxis, while two centers favored mechanical prophylaxis with LMWH only given as needed in cases of delayed mobilization ("LMWH as needed group"). RESULTS: In the LMWH routine group, VTE was diagnosed after 24/626 operations (3.9%), while VTE was diagnosed after 11/353 (3.1%) operations in the LMWH as needed group (p=0.56). Clinically relevant postoperative hematomas occurred after 57/626 operations (9.1%) in the LMWH routine group compared to 23/353 (6.5%) in the LMWH as needed group (p=0.16). Surgically evacuated postoperative hematomas occurred after 19/626 operations (3.0%) in the LMWH routine group compared to 8/353 operations (2.3%) in the LMWH as needed group (p=0.26). CONCLUSION: There is no benefit of routine preoperative LMWH starting before intracranial meningioma surgery. Neither could we for primary outcomes detect a significant increase in clinically relevant postoperative hematomas secondary to this regimen. We suggest that "as-needed" perioperative administration of LMWH, reserved for patients with excess risk due to delayed mobilization, is effective and also appears to be the safest strategy.

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