Aspirin compared with other anticoagulants for use as venous thromboembolism prophylaxis in elective orthopaedic hip and knee operations: a narrative literature review

Olatomiwa Olukoya*, Joshua Fultang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Although total hip and knee arthroplasty are effective methods for treating arthritis, they have an associated risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE). To reduce this risk, prophylactic agents including aspirin, low-molecular-weight Heparin, vitamin K antagonists, and direct oral anticoagulants are employed for up to 35 days after surgery. This narrative literature review utilised a systematic approach to critically assess the current evidence surrounding the use of aspirin for VTE prophylaxis compared to anticoagulants.

An advanced multistage electronic search was performed in May 2021 using the OVID/Medline and Embase online libraries to identify available studies relevant to the subject from 1974. Additional studies identified during the review process were also included. The final studies meeting the inclusion criteria were then assessed using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme tool.

A total of 12 (60%) studies (two meta-analyses, three randomised trials, seven retrospective studies) favoured aspirin over anticoagulants for VTE prophylaxis. A total of 15 (75%) studies (two meta-analyses, three randomised trials, nine retrospective, one matched cohort) reported that aspirin had better bleeding profiles and complication rates, which was statistically significant in seven (46.7%) studies (one randomised trial, six retrospective studies). A total of eight studies (one randomised trial, six retrospective studies, one matched cohort) reported statistically significant results for aspirin. Five (62.5%) studies reported aspirin to be superior for VTE prophylaxis, while seven (87.5%) reported aspirin to be superior in terms of bleeding complications.

The current evidence indicates that aspirin is superior to anticoagulants, in their various iterations, for VTE prophylaxis in terms of their bleeding profiles.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere18249
Number of pages9
JournalCureus
Volume13
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Sep 2021

Keywords

  • prophylaxis
  • dvt
  • vte
  • anticoagulation
  • aspirin

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