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Circ Cardiovasc Interv. 2012 Aug 1;5(4):590-6. doi: 10.1161/CIRCINTERVENTIONS.112.968313. Epub 2012 Jun 26.

Comparative effectiveness of preventative therapy for venous thromboembolism after coronary artery bypass graft surgery.

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  • 1Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02120, USA.



Controversy exists regarding the optimal preventative therapy for venous thromboembolism (VTE) after coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery. We sought to compare the effectiveness and safety of the most commonly used regimens.


We assembled a cohort of 92 699 patients who underwent CABG between 2004 and 2008, using the Premier database. Patients were categorized by method of VTE prevention initiated within 48 hours of surgery, including no preventative therapy (n=55 400), mechanical preventative therapy (n=21 162), subcutaneous unfractio--nated or low-molecular-weight heparin (n=10 718), subcutaneous fondaparinux (n=88), and concurrent mechanical-chemical therapy (n=5331). The incidence of VTE and major bleeding events within 6 weeks of CABG were compared, using multivariable and propensity score adjustment. The overall incidence of VTE for the entire cohort was 0.74%, and the incidence of major bleeding was 1.43%. VTE and bleeding events occurred with similar incidence in each of the patient categories (VTE: 0.70%, 0.79%, 0.81%, 1.14%, and 0.73%; major bleeding: 1.36%, 1.45%, 1.69%, 3.41%, 1.50%; no prevention, mechanical prevention, subcutaneous heparin, subcutaneous fondaparinux, concurrent mechanical-chemical prevention, respectively). Compared with receiving no prevention, the use of mechanical prevention or subcutaneous heparin did not significantly reduce the risk of VTE or change the risk of major bleeding (P=NS).


Venous thromboembolism occurs infrequently after CABG. Compared with the use of no prevention, the administration of chemical or mechanical preventative therapies to CABG patients does not appreciably lower the risk of VTE. These data provide support for the common practice of administering no VTE preventative therapy after CABG, used for nearly 60% of patients within this cohort.

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