Knee Surg Relat Res.  2020 Dec;32(4):e58. 10.1186/s43019-020-00077-w.

Short-duration chemoprophylaxis might reduce incidence of deep vein thrombosis in Asian patients undergoing total knee arthroplasty

  • 1Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, 10 Medical Drive, Singapore 117597, Singapore
  • 2Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, National University Hospital, 1E Kent Ridge Road, Singapore 119228, Singapore


Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a serious complication that may occur after total knee arthroplasty (TKA), leading to the recommendation of routine chemoprophylaxis by international guidelines. This study aims to determine if short-duration chemoprophylaxis after TKA reduces the incidence of VTE in an Asian population.
A retrospective study of 316 patients who underwent unilateral primary TKA between 1 January 2011 and 31 December 2013 was conducted. All patients received mechanical prophylaxis. One hundred seventeen patients (37%) received additional chemoprophylaxis, whereas 199 patients (63%) did not. A Doppler ultrasound (DUS) of both lower limbs was conducted for all patients within 6 days after surgery (median = 3 days) to assess for both proximal and distal DVT. Chemoprophylaxis in the form of enoxaparin (low molecular weight heparin; LMWH), aspirin, or heparin was administered until patients had a normal DUS, for a median duration of 4 days. Patients were followed up clinically for a minimum of 6 months to monitor for delayed or recurrent VTE and at least 2 years for patient-reported outcome measures.
Overall, 24 patients (7.59%) developed deep vein thrombosis (DVT): three proximal and 21 distal DVTs.Twenty-three of the 24 patients were asymptomatic. Twenty of 199 patients (10.05%) with only mechanical prophylaxis developed DVT, whereas four of 117 patients (3.42%) with additional chemoprophylaxis developed DVT.Multivariate analysis showed that chemoprophylaxis use was associated with reduced incidence of DVT (odds ratio = 0.19, p value = 0.011). Other factors associated with increased DVT incidence include female gender (odds ratio = 5.45, p value = 0.034), positive history of cancer (odds ratio = 5.14, p value = 0.044), and increased length of stay in hospital (odds ratio = 1.19, p value < 0.001).
Our study has shown that despite the low incidence of DVT in Asian patients undergoing TKA, shortduration chemoprophylaxis might be effective in reducing the incidence of DVT. However, most DVTs observed in our study were distal and may be of limited clinical significance. Further studies are needed to investigate the impact of chemoprophylaxis use on the incidence of PE and overall mortality rates among Asian patients.


Deep vein thrombosis; Venous thromboembolism; Total knee arthroplasty; Total knee replacement; Chemoprophylaxis
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