Postoperative Deep Vein Thrombosis Prophylaxis: A Retrospective Analysis in 1000 Consecutive Hip Fracture Patients Treated in a Community Hospital Setting


The occurrence of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) following cases of major trauma, in particular pelvic and hip fracture, has ranged from 36% to 60%, depending on the study quoted and the method of detection. The frequency of fatal pulmonary embolism (PE) has been reported as 0.5%–12.9% of the cases. A retrospective study of 1000 consecutive hip fracture patients in a community hospital setting reveals that 95% received a combination of mechanical and pharmacologic prophylaxis for prevention of DVT. Sixtyone patients were excluded for insufficient data, leaving 939 for analysis. There were 724 female patients with an average age of 83 years and 215 male patients with an average age of 78 years. Fifty-one patients (18.4%) received no prophylaxis in the eligible population. Three hundred eighty-seven patients (41.2%) received only aspirin as the pharmacologic agent for anticoagulation. Four hundred twenty-nine patients (45.6%) were treated with the low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH), enoxaparin. Ten patients (1.1%) received heparin for anticoagulation and 17 patients (1.8%) were treated with warfarin. A total of 43 patients received a combination of therapies. Four hundred ninety-five of the patients used concomitant intermittent pneumatic compression in addition to pharmacologic prophylaxis. There were 15 perioperative deaths from all causes, including five cases of DVT (two distal and three proximal). One distal DVT occurred prior to surgery. A second distal DVT and one fatal PE occurred in the aspirin group. The rates of minor bleeding complications in the aspirin group, the <12-hour postoperative dosing of the enoxaparin group, and the 12 to 24-hour postoperative dosing of the enoxaparin group were 3.1%, 5.7%, and 2.8%, respectively. There were no major bleeds in the aspirin group and 0.9% in the enoxaparin group. The LMWH group also had two proximal DVTs but no PEs. The combination of a relatively short half-life, predictable pharmacokinetics, and favorable safety profile makes enoxaparin an excellent drug for use in hip fracture patients. Additional trials will be necessary to establish an optimal duration of prophylaxis in this population. (Journal of the Southern Orthopaedic Association 12(1):10–17, 2003)

SKU: JSOA-2003-12-1-SU2 Categories: , Tags: , , ,

Robert S. Ennis, MD, FACS