Extended thromboprophylaxis is vital in patients undergoing total hip arthroplasty (THA) because of the prolonged risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE). Despite evidence that extended prophylaxis can reduce the incidence of symptomatic VTE in this high-risk patient population and the evidence-based guideline recommendations, a large proportion of patients still do not receive an adequate duration of thromboprophylaxis. This is partly due to the limitations of conventional anticoagulants, such as the subcutaneous route of administration or the requirement for routine coagulation monitoring and dose adjustment. New oral anticoagulants (such as the direct thrombin inhibitor dabigatran etexilate and the Factor Xa inhibitor rivaroxaban) could address the current unmet need. Phase III clinical studies in VTE prevention in patients undergoing THA and total knee arthroplasty (TKA) showed that dabigatran etexilate was non-inferior to the EU regimen of enoxaparin, but did not achieve non-inferiority to the US regimen of enoxaparin. In contrast, rivaroxaban demonstrated superiority to both enoxaparin regimens for the prevention of VTE after THA and TKA, without a significant increase in major bleeding rates. Their convenient, once-daily, fixed dosing, with no need for routine coagulation monitoring, could facilitate adherence to evidence-based guideline recommendations of extended thromboprophylaxis after THA.
PMID: 19565250 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]