BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2018 19:322

Low molecular weight heparin versus other anti-thrombotic agents for prevention of venous thromboembolic events after total hip or total knee replacement surgery: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Xin Lu and Jin Lin
Hip Knee


Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is an important complication following total hip replacement (THR) and total knee replacement (TKR) surgeries. Aim of this study was to comprehensively compare the clinical outcomes of low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) with other anticoagulants in patients who underwent TKR or THR surgery.


Medline, Cochrane, EMBASE, and Google Scholar databases were searched for eligible randomized controlled studies (RCTs) published before June 30, 2017. Meta-analyses of odds ratios were performed along with subgroup and sensitivity analyses.


Twenty-one RCTs were included. In comparison with placebo, LMWH treatment was associated with a lower risk of VTE and deep vein thrombosis (DVT) (P values < 0.001) but similar risk of pulmonary embolism (PE) (P = 0.227) in THR subjects. Compared to factor Xa inhibitors, LMWH treatment was associated with higher risk of VTE in TKR subjects (P < 0.001), and higher DVT risk (P < 0.001) but similar risk of PE and major bleeding in both THR and TKR. The risk of either VTE, DVT, PE, or major bleeding was similar between LMWH and direct thrombin inhibitors in both THR and TKR, but major bleeding was lower with LMWH in patients who underwent THR (P = 0.048).


In comparison with factor Xa inhibitors, LMWH may have higher risk of VTE and DVT, whereas compared to direct thrombin inhibitors, LMWH may have lower risk of major bleeding after THR or TKR.

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