Purpose: Patients undergoing general surgical procedures are at increased risk for venous thromboembolism (VTE). Compliance rates with established guidelines for VTE thromboprophylaxis in patients at moderate-to-high risk are notably low. Recent literature has demonstrated that fondaparinux is associated with lower costs and fewer VTEs than enoxaparin in patients undergoing major orthopedic surgery (MOS), but data are limited in patients undergoing general surgery. This study was conducted to evaluate the cost implications and relative real-world effectiveness of fondaparinux vs. enoxaparin in general surgery patients.
Methods: Data were obtained from inpatient billing records from over 500 hospitals using Premier's Perspective Comparative Database. Patients hospitalized for general surgery between July 1, 2003 and January 31, 2006 were eligible for inclusion. Eligible patients were included if they received fondaparinux or enoxaparin after their general surgery date. Patients were excluded if they received both anticoagulants on their first day of therapy, were <18 years of age on the surgery date, or did not have data 6 months prior and 1 month post hospitalization. Included patients were stratified into two cohorts based on their first anticoagulant, fondaparinux or enoxaparin. Patients were matched in each group on 1:1 case-control matching based on propensity scores.
Results: A total of 5364 patients were included (n = 2682 for each cohort) from 326 unique hospitals. Average total costs per patient for the fondaparinux group were significantly lower than the enoxaparin group ($15 156 vs. 17 741, p < 0.0001). Patients receiving fondaparinux were significantly less likely to experience a VTE (2.80 vs. 3.77%, p = 0.046, a 35% relative risk reduction). No significant differences in bleeding events between the cohorts were observed (p = 0.6047), and no significant differences in all-cause inpatient death were noted (p = 0.3673).
Conclusion: Fondaparinux was associated with significantly lower costs and fewer VTEs compared to enoxaparin without an increase in bleed rates or all-cause inpatient mortality. The findings from this study are limited by the retrospective study design and should only be generalized to a similar patient population.