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Obstet Gynecol. 2000 Feb;95(2):206-14.

Cost-effectiveness of deep venous thrombosis prophylaxis in gynecologic oncology surgery.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.



To estimate the cost-effectiveness of preventive strategies for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in patients undergoing surgery for gynecologic cancer.


A model was constructed to estimate the costs and outcomes associated with the use of external pneumatic compression, unfractionated heparin, and low molecular weight heparin in women with cervical, endometrial, and ovarian cancer. We estimated cost per DVT prevented, per fatal pulmonary embolus (PE) prevented, and per life-year saved. Probability estimates for various outcomes and efficacies were obtained from the literature, using data specific for gynecologic patients when available.


Cost-effectiveness estimates ranged from $27 per life-year saved for a 55-year-old endometrial cancer patient to $5132 per life-year saved for a 65-year-old with ovarian cancer. Although low molecular weight heparin and unfractionated heparin were cost-effective compared with no prophylaxis, each was less effective than external pneumatic compression in the base case. The results of the analysis were sensitive to assumptions about the relative risk of DVT, the life expectancy of the patient, the costs of future treatment, and the relative effectiveness of the different strategies: If unfractionated heparin or low molecular weight heparin is at least 2-3% more effective than external pneumatic compression, then the incremental cost per life-year of either would be less than $50,000 compared with external pneumatic compression.


Prophylaxis of DVT is cost-effective in terms of life-years gained even for patients with relatively short life expectancies, such as ovarian cancer patients. External pneumatic compression appears to be the most cost-effective strategy under our baseline assumptions, but further studies in gynecologic cancer are needed to validate our conclusions.

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