Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research®: February 2019 - Volume 477 - Issue 2 - p 396–402 doi: 10.1097/CORR.0000000000000613 CLINICAL RESEARCH

No Difference Between Low- and Regular-dose Aspirin for Venous Thromboembolism Prophylaxis After THA

Faour, Mhamad, MD; Piuzzi, Nicolas S., MD; Brigati, David P., MD; Klika, Alison K., MS; Mont, Michael A., MD; Barsoum, Wael K., MD; Higuera, Carlos A., MD

Background Aspirin is established as an effective prophylaxis for venous thromboembolism (VTE) after THA; however, there is no consensus as to whether low- or regular-dose aspirin is more effective at preventing VTE.


Questions/purposes (1) Is there a difference in the incidence of symptomatic VTE within 90 days of elective THA using low-dose aspirin compared with regular-dose aspirin? (2) Is there a difference in the risk of significant bleeding (gastrointestinal and wound bleeding) and mortality between low- and standard-dose aspirin within 90 days after surgery?


Methods We retrospectively evaluated 7488 patients in our database who underwent THA between September 2012 and December 2016. A total of 3936 (53%) patients received aspirin alone for VTE prophylaxis after THA. During the study period, aspirin was prescribed as a monotherapy for VTE prophylaxis after surgery in low-risk patients (no history of VTE, recent orthopaedic surgery, hypercoagulable state, history of cardiac arrhythmia requiring anticoagulation, or receiving anticoagulation for any other medical conditions before surgery). Patients were excluded if aspirin use was contraindicated because of peptic ulcer disease, intolerance, or other reasons. Patients received aspirin twice daily (BID) for 4 to 6 weeks after surgery and were grouped into two cohorts: a low-dose (81 mg BID) aspirin group (n = 1033) and a standard-dose (325 mg BID) aspirin group (n = 2903). The primary endpoint was symptomatic VTE (deep vein thrombosis [DVT] and pulmonary embolism [PE]). Secondary endpoints included significant bleeding (gastrointestinal [GI] and wound) and mortality. Exploratory univariate analyses were used to compare confounders between the study groups. Multivariate regression was used to control for confounding variables (including age, sex, body mass index, comorbidities, and surgeon) as we compared the study groups with respect to the proportion of patients who developed symptomatic VTE, bleeding (GI or wound), and mortality within 90 days of surgery.


Results The 90-day incidence of symptomatic VTE was 1.0% in the 325-mg group and 0.6% in the 81-mg group (p = 0.35). Symptomatic DVT incidence was 0.8% in the 325-mg group and 0.5% in the 81-mg group (p = 0.49), and the incidence of symptomatic PE was 0.3% in the 325-mg group and 0.2% in the 81-mg group (p = 0.45). Furthermore, bleeding was observed in 0.8% of the 325-mg group and 0.5% of the 81-mg group (p = 0.75), and 90-day mortality was not different (0.1%) between the groups (p = 0.75). After accounting for confounders, regression analyses showed no difference between aspirin doses and the 90-day incidence of symptomatic VTE (odds ratio [OR], 0.90; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.29-2.85; p = 0.85) or symptomatic DVT (OR, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.26-3.59; p = 0.95).


Conclusions We found no difference in the incidence of symptomatic VTE after THA with low-dose compared with standard-dose aspirin. In the absence of compelling evidence to the contrary, low-dose aspirin appears to be a reasonable option for VTE prophylaxis in otherwise healthy patients undergoing elective THA.


Level of Evidence Level III, therapeutic study.

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