Venous Thromboembolism Prophylaxis After TKA: Aspirin, Warfarin, Enoxaparin, or Factor Xa Inhibitors?
There is considerable debate regarding the ideal agent for venous thromboembolism (VTE) prophylaxis after TKA. Numerous studies and meta-analyses have yet to provide a clear answer and often omit one or more of the commonly used agents such as aspirin, warfarin, enoxaparin, and factor Xa inhibitors.
Using a large database analysis, we asked: (1) What are the differences in VTE incidence in primary TKA after administration of aspirin, warfarin, enoxaparin, or factor Xa inhibitors? (2) What are the differences in bleeding risk among these four agents? (3) How has use of these agents changed with time?
We queried a combined Humana and Medicare database between 2007 and Quarter 1 of 2016, and identified all primary TKAs performed using ICD-9 and Current Procedural Terminology codes. All patients who had any form of antiplatelet or anticoagulation prescribed within 1 year before TKA were excluded from our study cohort. We then identified patients who had either aspirin, warfarin, enoxaparin, or factor Xa inhibitors prescribed within 2 weeks of primary TKA. Each cohort was matched by age and sex. Elixhauser comorbidities and Charlson Comorbidity Index for each group were calculated. We identified 1016 patients with aspirin, and age- and sex-matched 6096 patients with enoxaparin, 6096 patients with warfarin, and 5080 patients with factor Xa inhibitors. Using ICD-9 codes, with the understanding that patients at greater risk may have had more-attentive surveillance, the incidence of postoperative deep venous thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE), bleeding-related complications (bleeding requiring surgical intervention, hemorrhage, hematoma, hemarthrosis), postoperative anemia, and transfusion were identified at 2 weeks, 30 days, 6 weeks, and 90 days postoperatively. A four-way chi-squared test was used to determine statistical significance. Utilization was calculated using compound annual growth rate.
There was a difference in the incidence of DVT at 90 days (p < 0.01). Factor Xa inhibitors (2.9%) had the lowest incidence of DVT followed by aspirin (3.0%) and enoxaparin (3.5%), and warfarin (4.8%). There was a difference in the incidence of PE at 90 days (p < 0.01). Factor Xa inhibitors (0.9%) had the lowest incidence of PE followed by enoxaparin (1.1%), aspirin (1.2%), and warfarin (1.6%). There was a difference in the incidence of postoperative anemia at 90 days (p < 0.01). Aspirin (19%) had the lowest incidence of postoperative anemia followed by warfarin (22%), enoxaparin (23%), and factor Xa inhibitors (23%). There was a difference in the incidence of a blood transfusion at 90 days (p < 0.01). Aspirin (7%) had the lowest incidence of a blood transfusion followed by factor Xa inhibitors (9%), warfarin (12%), and enoxaparin (13%). There were no differences in bleeding-related complications (p = 0.81) between the groups. Aspirin use increased at a compound annual growth rate of 30%, enoxaparin at 3%, and factor Xa inhibitors at 43%, while warfarin use decreased at a compound annual growth rate of -3%.
Factor Xa inhibitors had the highest growth in utilization during our study period, followed by aspirin, when compared with enoxaparin and warfarin. When selected for the right patient, factor Xa inhibitors provided improved VTE prophylaxis compared with enoxaparin and warfarin, with a lower rate of blood transfusion. Aspirin provided comparable VTE prophylaxis compared with factor Xa inhibitors with improved VTE prophylaxis compared with enoxaparin and warfarin with the lowest risk of bleeding.
Level of Evidence
Level III, therapeutic study.