Context: Symptomatic venous thromboembolism (VTE) after total or partial knee arthroplasty (TPKA) and after total or partial hip arthroplasty (TPHA) are proposed patient safety indicators, but its incidence prior to discharge is not defined.
Objective: To establish a literature-based estimate of symptomatic VTE event rates prior to hospital discharge in patients undergoing TPHA or TPKA.
Data sources: Search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library (1996 to 2011), supplemented by relevant articles.
Study selection: Reports of incidence of symptomatic postoperative pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis (DVT) before hospital discharge in patients who received VTE prophylaxis with either a low-molecular-weight heparin or a subcutaneous factor Xa inhibitor or oral direct inhibitor of factors Xa or IIa.
Data extraction and synthesis: Meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials and observational studies that reported rates of postoperative symptomatic VTE in patients who received recommended VTE prophylaxis after undergoing TPHA or TPKA. Data were independently extracted by 2 analysts, and pooled incidence rates of VTE, DVT, and pulmonary embolism were estimated using random-effects models.
Results: The analysis included 44,844 cases provided by 47 studies. The pooled rates of symptomatic postoperative VTE before hospital discharge were 1.09% (95% CI, 0.85%-1.33%) for patients undergoing TPKA and 0.53% (95% CI, 0.35%-0.70%) for those undergoing TPHA. The pooled rates of symptomatic DVT were 0.63% (95% CI, 0.47%-0.78%) for knee arthroplasty and 0.26% (95% CI, 0.14%-0.37%) for hip arthroplasty. The pooled rates for pulmonary embolism were 0.27% (95% CI, 0.16%-0.38%) for knee arthroplasty and 0.14% (95% CI, 0.07%-0.21%) for hip arthroplasty. There was significant heterogeneity for the pooled incidence rates of symptomatic postoperative VTE in TPKA studies but less heterogeneity for DVT and pulmonary embolism in TPKA studies and for VTE, DVT, and pulmonary embolism in TPHA studies.
Conclusion: Using current VTE prophylaxis, approximately 1 in 100 patients undergoing TPKA and approximately 1 in 200 patients undergoing TPHA develops symptomatic VTE prior to hospital discharge.