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Aspirin for thromboprophylaxis after primary lower limb arthroplasty

early thromboembolic events and 90 day mortality in 11 459 patients

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The aim of this study was to present data on 11 459 patients who underwent total hip (THA), total knee (TKA) or unicompartmental knee arthroplasty (UKA) between November 2002 and April 2014 with aspirin as the primary agent for pharmacological thromboprophylaxis.

Patients and Methods

We analysed the incidence of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) then compared the 90-day all-cause mortality with the corresponding data in the National Joint Registry for England and Wales (NJR).


The incidence of PE was 0.6% after THA, 1.47% after TKA and 1.2% after UKA. The 90-day mortality was 0.39% after THA and 0.44% after TKA. No deaths occurred after UKA. The main causes of death were ischaemic heart disease and respiratory failure. PE was responsible for only 18% of deaths. There was a decline in 90-day mortality, from 0.64% between 2002 and 2007, to 0.21% between 2008 and 2013 after THA, and from 0.47% to 0.39% after TKA for the corresponding period. The standardised mortality ratio (SMR) declined from 86.5 (confidence interval (CI) 63.0 to 137.7) to 39.7 (CI 31.2 to 54.3) p = 0.024. The incidence of proximal DVT was 0.3%.

Take home message: With individualised risk assessment and as part of a multimodal approach, Aspirin is safe to use as the main thromboprophylactic agent in primary arthroplasty. It is not associated with an increased incidence of symptomatic DVT, PE or death.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2016;98-B:341-8.

Correspondence should be sent to Mr L. Ogonda; e-mail:

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