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Efficacy of pre-operative pharmacologic thromboprophylaxis on incidence of venous thromboembolism following major gynecologic and gynecologic oncology surgery: a systematic review and meta-analysis


Introduction Venous thromboembolism remains a significant complication following major gynecologic surgery. Evidence is lacking on whether it is beneficial to give pharmacologic thromboprophylaxis pre-operatively. The aim of this meta-analysis was to assess the role of pre-operative pharmacologic thromboprophylaxis in preventing post-operative venous thromboembolism.

Methods PubMed, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Central Register of Clinical Trials were searched to find randomized controlled, cohort, and case–control trials comparing pre-operative pharmacologic thromboprophylaxis to no prophylaxis, mechanical prophylaxis, or only post-operative pharmacologic thromboprophylaxis for open and minimally invasive major gynecologic surgery (benign and malignant conditions). Two authors independently assessed abstracts, full-text articles, and methodological quality. Data were extracted and pooled using ORs for random effects meta-analysis. Heterogeneity was explored using forest plots, Q-statistic, and I2 statistics. Planned subgroup analysis of use of sequential compression devices, equivalent versus non-equivalent post-operative prophylaxis, cancer diagnosis, and methodological quality were performed.

Results Some 503 unique studies were found, and 16 studies (28 806 patients) were included in the systematic review. Twelve studies (14 273 patients) were included in the meta-analysis. The OR for incidence of post-operative venous thromboembolism was 0.59 (95% CI 0.39, 0.89), favoring pre-operative pharmacologic thromboembolism prophylaxis compared with no pre-operative pharmacologic prophylaxis (Q=13.80, I2=20.30). In studies where post-operative care was equivalent between groups, the OR for venous thromboembolism was 0.56 (95% CI 0.22, 1.40). Pre-operative pharmacologic prophylaxis demonstrated greatest benefit when utilized with both intra-operative and post-operative sequential compression devices (OR 0.43, 95% CI 0.30, 0.64) compared with when no sequential compression devices were utilized (OR 1.27, 95% CI 0.63, 2.56). When looking at only studies determined to be of high quality, the results no longer reached significance (OR 0.73, 95% CI 0.36, 1.46).

Conclusions Pre-operative pharmacologic thromboprophylaxis decreases the odds of venous thromboembolism in the peri-operative period for major gynecologic oncology surgery by approximately 40%. It remains unclear whether this benefit is present in benign and minor procedures. Adequately powered studies are needed.

  • venous thromboembolism
  • surgery
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