Initial Experience with Apixaban for Extended Venous Thromboembolism Prophylaxis After Radical Cystectomy

Eur Urol Focus. 2022 Mar;8(2):480-482. doi: 10.1016/j.euf.2021.03.007. Epub 2021 Mar 15.


Patients who undergo radical cystectomy (RC) are at elevated risk of venous thromboembolism and associated morbidity and mortality. Guidelines recommend extended thromboprophylaxis (ETP), typically with heparins, but adherence is low. Outside urology, low-dose apixaban has been used for postoperative ETP with success. We describe our first experiences with low-dose apixaban for ETP after RC for bladder cancer. In our sample of 72 patients who underwent RC for cancer and subsequently received apixaban 2.5 mg twice daily for ETP, there were no symptomatic thromboembolic events and no major bleeding events. Other complication rates were in line with historical reports. Our experience with apixaban 2.5 mg twice daily for ETP after RC demonstrates safety and potential efficacy. A transition from injectable to oral thromboprophylaxis has the potential to improve adherence and patient satisfaction, while allowing the possibility of further extending prophylaxis beyond 28 d, which may be beneficial in selected patients. Further evaluation of apixaban for thromboprophylaxis in urologic cancer surgery is warranted. PATIENT SUMMARY: Home injectable heparin is used for 4 weeks after bladder removal surgery to prevent blood clots. We evaluated our use of the oral medication apixaban for prevention of blood clots after bladder removal surgery and found that none of our patients had major bleeding events or symptomatic blood clots. We conclude that there should be further evaluation of the use of oral instead of injectable medication to prevent blood clots after urology surgery.

Keywords: Bladder cancer; Cystectomy; Prophylaxis; Venous thromboembolism.

MeSH terms

  • Anticoagulants / adverse effects
  • Cystectomy / adverse effects
  • Hemorrhage / chemically induced
  • Humans
  • Pyrazoles
  • Pyridones
  • Urinary Bladder
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Venous Thromboembolism* / etiology
  • Venous Thromboembolism* / prevention & control


  • Anticoagulants
  • Pyrazoles
  • Pyridones
  • apixaban