Author(s): Pini M, Spyropoulos AC
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Abstract Patients with clinical conditions such as surgery, trauma, and acute medical illness have a transiently increased risk of venous thromboembolism and merit consideration for adequate thromboprophylaxis. The choice of an appropriate pharmacologic or physical means of prophylaxis should be made taking into account both the thrombotic and bleeding risk associated with patient-related factors and the type of surgery or other disease state involved. A large number of randomized clinical trials, meta-analyses, and guidelines developed by scientific societies worldwide have addressed this issue and have provided information and recommendations that should be considered carefully. The aim of this review is to provide the practicing physician with a brief updated summary of the subject, stratifying those patients at low thrombotic risk who do not require specific thromboprophylaxis apart from early ambulation, from those at moderate or higher thrombotic risk. Patients at moderate thrombotic risk face a 10 to 20\% risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and require prophylaxis with low-dose unfractionated heparin or low molecular weight heparins (LMWHs) at a dosage < 3400 U once daily, or with graduated elastic stockings if their bleeding risk is high. Patients with an expected 20 to 40\% DVT rate without prophylaxis are considered at high thrombotic risk and should be treated preferentially with LMWHs at high prophylactic dosage (> 3400 U). Patients undergoing major orthopedic surgery face a DVT rate > 40\%, are considered at very high risk of venous thromboembolism, and should be given either LMWHs at high prophylactic dosage, fondaparinux, or vitamin K antagonists--either alone or in association with intermittent pneumatic compression devices.
This article was published in Semin Thromb Hemost
and referenced in Family Medicine & Medical Science Research