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    Pre-op anticoagulation reduces VTE risk in cancer patients

    Anna GarrettAnna GarrettVenous thromboembolism (VTE) is a frequent cause of morbidity during cancer treatment, and although a number of studies have found that postoperative anticoagulation decreases rates of VTE in surgical oncology patients, the effect of adding preoperative anticoagulation to postoperative VTE prophylaxis is largely unknown.

    See also: Andexanet quickly reverses factor Xa inhibitor activity for DOACs

    Now researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York have found that rates of deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism were significantly lower among patients who received preoperative chemoprophylaxis than in those who did not.

    Investigators selected 2,058 patients who were undergoing major cancer surgery to receive preoperative VTE prophylaxis of either low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) (40 mg enoxaparin) or unfractionated heparin (5,000 units). Anticoagulation was administered in the preoperative holding area by the nursing staff within two hours of surgery.

    Bleeding, transfusion, and VTE rates were compared with those of 4,960 historical controls who did not receive preoperative VTE chemoprophylaxis.

    Patients who received the intervention did not have a statistically significant difference in the rate of major bleeding events. They also had lower rates of both documented bleeding and blood transfusion, as well as statistically significant lower rates of documented DVT and pulmonary embolism. 

    Source: Selby LV, Sovel M, Sjoberg DD, et al. Preoperative chemoprophylaxis is safe in major oncology operations and effective at preventing venous thromboembolism. J Am Coll Surg. 2015. Published online December 14, 2015. http://www.journalacs.org/article/S1072-7515(15)01712-3/abstract.

    Heart failure raises VTE risk: Meta-analysis

    Among hospitalized patients, heart failure appears to be an independent risk factor for VTE, according to a recently published meta-analysis.The analysis included 71 studies reporting absolute or relative risks for VTE among hospitalized heart failure patients. Overall, the VTE rate was 1.5% among heart failure patients who received thromboprophylaxis and 3.7% for those who did not. The rate was highest among patients with both heart failure and cancer (6.6%). After multivariable adjustment, heart failure was associated with a 50% increased risk for VTE.

    See also: Less bleeding with rivaroxaban for VTE

    The authors concluded that heart failure is an independent risk factor for VTE and that thromboprophylaxis should be considered in clinical practice for high-risk patients.

    Source: Tang L, Wu Y, Lip GYH, et al. Heart failure and risk of venous thromboembolism: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet Haematology. Published online December 3, 2015. http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanhae/article/PIIS2352-3026(15)00228-8/abstract.

    Anna D. Garrett, PharmD, BCPS
    Anna D. Garrett is a clinical pharmacist and president of Dr. Anna Garrett (www.drannagarrett.com). Her mission is to help women in ...

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