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Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2017 Sep;475(9):2245-2252. doi: 10.1007/s11999-017-5419-1. Epub 2017 Jun 22.

Similar Clinical Outcomes with Preoperative and Postoperative Start of Thromboprophylaxis in THA: A Register-based Study.

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Department of Orthopaedics, Martina Hansens Hospital, Dønskiveien 8, 1346, Gjettum, Norway.
Oslo Centre of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Research Support Services, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway.
Norwegian Arthroplasty Register, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway.
The Norwegian Patient Register, The Norwegian Directorate of Health, Trondheim, Norway.
Centre of Medical Science, Education and Innovation, Innlandet Hospital Trust, Elverum, Norway.
Thrombosis Research Institute, London, UK.
Department of Orthopaedics, Oslo University Clinic, Rikshospitalet, Norway.



Elective THA is associated with a high risk of thromboembolic events. Although these events may be less common now than they were in the past, they can be serious, and most patients undergoing the procedure therefore still receive thromboprophylaxis. However, controversy remains regarding whether to begin thromboprophylaxis before THA or after to best balance the risks of clotting and bleeding.


We asked the following questions: (1) Is there a difference in bleeding events with pre- versus postoperative thromboprophylaxis? (2) Is there a difference in thromboembolic episodes after THA between the two regimens? (3) How do the two approaches of thromboprophylaxis influence mortality, readmissions, and other complications?


We used a population-based followup design with predefined data based on international health codification to assess clinical effects of LMWH prophylaxis initiated before or after THA. We took data limited to primary THAs done in Norway between January 1, 2008, and December 31, 2011, from the Norwegian Arthroplasty Register and the National Patient Register to have necessary data elements to complete the study. The two registers were merged after identifying patients with their 11-digit personal identification number (Social Security number). We obtained data regarding demographics, administrative and surgical details, and episode histories for prophylaxis-related events within 180 days of surgery. A total of 25,163 patients undergoing THA were included for analysis, and 9977(40%) versus 15,186 (60%) patients received pre- and postoperative LMWH, respectively. We performed statistical adjustment for differences in baseline characteristics using multivariate logistic regression.


After adjustment for age, sex, operation time, year of surgery, and American Society of Anesthesiologists class, we could not show major differences in bleeding events; (odds ratio [OR], 1.04; 95% CI, 0.88-1.22; p = 0.660), thromboembolic episodes; (OR, 1.03; 95% CI, 0.84-1.27; p = 0.786), or other postoperative clinical complications; (OR, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.76-0.99; p = 0.034), with the two regimens. Six-month mortality was similar, (OR, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.56-1.05; p = 0.093), and the readmission rate was higher in the preoperative group; (OR, 0.92; 95% CI, 0.85-0.97; p = 0.016).


The risk for postoperative complications seems to be comparable whether LMWH prophylaxis is initiated before or after THA. The postoperative approach reduces costs, decreases risks related to neuraxial anesthesia, and facilitates same-day admissions. Methods for individual risk assessment including laboratory tests would be feasible.


Level III, therapeutic study.

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