Thrombosis Prophylaxis in Orthopedic Surgery: Current Clinical Considerations


Thrombosis prophylaxis in orthopedic surgery is an important consideration in order to avoid the morbidity and mortality of venous thromboembolism (VTE). Patients who do not receive prophylaxis, or receive inadequate prophylaxis, may be at risk for clinical or fatal pulmonary emboli, and a fatality, although rare, may be the first sign of a VTE. Although the surgeon may have corrected the patient’s orthopedic problem, a symptomatic or asymptomatic venous thrombosis may become a new threat to the patient’s quality of life. This problem places such patients at risk for recurrent VTE, as well as post-thrombotic syndrome, a progressive, lifelong disability. Methods of prophylaxis that prevent the most clots result in the fewest venous thromboembolic events, but no one method of prophylaxis is suitable for all patients. In order to select the appropriate modality, a careful risk assessment of each patient is necessary. Those at low or moderate risk levels do not require the same modalities that may be used in a patient with a previous history of thrombosis or with many risk factors. The purpose of this brief review is to examine the complications associated with venous thromboembolism and to
discuss, in detail, the risk of thrombosis in orthopedic patients. In addition, thrombosis prophylaxis modalities are discussed and suggestions made based on current Chest Consensus Guidelines and FDA-approved products. (Journal of the Southern Orthopaedic Association 11(4):190–196, 2002)

SKU: JSOA-2002-11-4-W2 Categories: , Tags: , ,

Joseph A. Caprini, MD, Juan I. Arcelus, MD, PhD, Dejan Maksimovic, BS, Catherine
J. Glase, BS, Jennifer G. Sarayba, MD, and Karen Hathaway, BS