Venous thromboembolic prophylaxis for hip fractures

Osteoporos Int. 2010 Dec;21(Suppl 4):S593-604. doi: 10.1007/s00198-010-1403-2. Epub 2010 Nov 6.


Patients with hip fractures are at very high risk for the development of venous thromboembolism (VTE). To provide an overview of cause, risk factors, current treatment strategies, and complications associated with VTE prophylaxis, we reviewed the most current, best available evidence on VTE prophylaxis for patients with hip fractures. We comprehensively reviewed the literature to assess the efficacy of VTE prophylaxis in patients with hip fractures, including the most recent published guidelines by national medical and surgical health organizations from the UK, USA, and Canada. Mechanical devices are effective in reducing the risk of VTE for hip fracture, but poor patient compliance is common and the devices are not recommended for sole VTE prophylaxis. Aspirin reduces the risk of VTE but does not provide optimal protection compared with other chemical agents; therefore, it is not recommended for sole VTE prophylaxis. Fondaparinux, warfarin, low-molecular-weight heparin, and unfractionated heparin reduce the risk of venographic deep vein thrombosis, but there is insufficient evidence that they reduce fatal pulmonary embolism or all-cause mortality. Fondaparinux is considered to be cost effective and more efficacious than low-molecular-weight heparin. At present, most major health organizations advocate at least 28 days of postoperative chemical prophylaxis. Chemical VTE prophylaxis should be administered to all patients with hip fractures unless contraindicated. Additional research is required to establish an agent that has a significant impact on fatal pulmonary embolism and all-cause mortality, without increasing bleeding complications, in this group of patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Fibrinolytic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Hip Fractures / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Osteoporotic Fractures / prevention & control*
  • Postoperative Care / methods
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control*
  • Pulmonary Embolism / etiology
  • Pulmonary Embolism / prevention & control
  • Risk Factors
  • Venous Thromboembolism / etiology
  • Venous Thromboembolism / prevention & control*


  • Fibrinolytic Agents