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Venous Thromboembolism Prophylaxis in Major Orthopedic Surgery: Systematic Review Update

Comparative Effectiveness Reviews, No. 191

Investigators: , MD, MPH, , MSc, , MD, PhD, , MLIS, and , MD, PhD.

Author Information
Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US); .
Report No.: 17-EHC021-EF

Structured Abstract

Background:

Major orthopedic surgeries, such as total knee replacement (TKR), total hip replacement (THR), and hip fracture (HFx) surgery, carry a high risk for venous thromboembolism (VTE)—deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE).

Methods:

Updating a 2012 review, we compare interventions to prevent VTE after TKR, THR, and HFx surgery. We searched four databases and other sources through June 3, 2016, for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and large nonrandomized comparative studies (NRCSs) reporting postoperative VTE, major bleeding, and other adverse events. We conducted pairwise meta-analyses, Bayesian network meta-analyses, and strength of evidence (SoE) synthesis.

Results:

Overall, 127 RCTs and 15 NRCSs met criteria. For THR: low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) has lower risk than unfractionated heparin (UFH) of various VTE outcomes (moderate to high SoE) and major bleeding (moderate SoE). LMWH and aspirin have similar risks of total PE, symptomatic DVT, and major bleeding (low SoE). LMWH has less major bleeding (low SoE) than direct thrombin inhibitors (DTI), but DTI has lower DVT risks (moderate SoE). LMWH has less major bleeding than vitamin K antagonists (VKA) (high SoE). LMWH and factor Xa inhibitor (FXaI) comparisons are inconsistent across VTE outcomes, but LMWH has less major bleeding (high SoE). VKA has lower proximal DVT risk than mechanical devices (high SoE). Longer duration LMWH has lower risk of various VTE outcome risks (low to high SoE). Higher dose LMWH has lower total DVT risk (low SoE) but more major bleeding (moderate SoE). Higher dose FXaI has lower total VTE risk (low SoE). For TKR: LMWH has lower DVT risks than VKA (low to high SoE), but VKA has less major bleeding (low SoE). FXaI has lower risk than LMWH of various VTE outcomes (low to moderate SoE), but LMWH has less major bleeding (low SoE) and more study-defined serious adverse events (low SoE). Higher dose DTI has lower DVT risk (moderate to high SoE) but more major bleeding (low SoE). Higher dose FXaI has lower risk of various VTE outcomes (low to moderate SoE). For HFx surgery: LMWH has lower total DVT risk than FXaI (moderate SoE).

Conclusions:

VTE prophylaxis after major orthopedic surgery trades off lowered VTE risk with possible adverse events—in particular, for most interventions, major bleeding. In THR, LMWH has lower VTE and adverse event risks than UFH, LMWH and aspirin have similar risks of VTE and major bleeding, DTI has lower DVT risk than LMWH but higher major bleeding risk, and higher dose LMWH has lower DVT risk but higher major bleeding risk than lower dose. In TKR, VKA has higher DVT risk than LMWH but lower major bleeding risk, and higher dose DTI has lower DVT risk but higher major bleeding risk than lower dose. In HFx surgery and for other intervention comparisons, there is insufficient evidence to assess both benefits and harms, or findings are inconsistent. Importantly, though, most studies evaluate “total DVT” (an outcome of unclear clinical significance since it includes asymptomatic and other low-risk DVTs), but relatively few studies evaluate PE and other clinically important outcomes. This limitation yields a high likelihood of selective outcome reporting bias. There is also relatively sparse evidence on interventions other than LMWH.

Contents

Prepared for: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services1, Contract No. 290-2015-00002-I. Prepared by: Brown Evidence-based Practice Center, Providence, RI

Suggested citation:

Balk EM, Ellis AG, Di M, Adam GP, Trikalinos TA. Venous Thromboembolism Prophylaxis in Major Orthopedic Surgery: Systematic Review Update. Comparative Effectiveness Review No. 191. (Prepared by the Brown Evidence-based Practice Center under Contract No. 290-2015-00002-I.) AHRQ Publication No. 17-EHC021-EF. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; June 2017. www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/reports/final.cfm. DOI: https://doi.org/10.23970/AHRQEPCCER191.

This report is based on research conducted by the Brown Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) under contract to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Rockville, MD (Contract No. 290-2015-00002-I). The findings and conclusions in this document are those of the authors, who are responsible for its contents; the findings and conclusions do not necessarily represent the views of AHRQ. Therefore, no statement in this report should be construed as an official position of AHRQ or of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

None of the investigators have any affiliations or financial involvement that conflicts with the material presented in this report.

The information in this report is intended to help health care decisionmakers—patients and clinicians, health system leaders, and policymakers, among others—make well-informed decisions and thereby improve the quality of health care services. This report is not intended to be a substitute for the application of clinical judgment. Anyone who makes decisions concerning the provision of clinical care should consider this report in the same way as any medical reference and in conjunction with all other pertinent information, i.e., in the context of available resources and circumstances presented by individual patients.

AHRQ or U.S. Department of Health and Human Services endorsement of any derivative products that may be developed from this report, such as clinical practice guidelines, other quality enhancement tools, or reimbursement or coverage policies, may not be stated or implied.

This report may periodically be assessed for the currency of conclusions. If an assessment is done, the resulting surveillance report describing the methodology and findings will be found on the Effective Health Care Program Web site at www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov. Search on the title of the report.

1

5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857; www​.ahrq.gov

Bookshelf ID: NBK476632PMID: 29389096

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