Objective: Our aim was to determine the relative efficacy and complications of low-dose heparin and intermittent pneumatic calf compression for the prevention of postoperative venous thrombosis in patients undergoing surgery for gynecologic malignancy.
Study design: Randomized trial comparing 107 patients treated with low-dose heparin to 101 patients treated with intermittent pneumatic calf compression was performed. All patients were evaluated with iodine-125 fibrinogen scanning of the legs. Clinical and laboratory variables associated with bleeding complications were recorded prospectively.
Results: Venous thrombosis was diagnosed in seven patients receiving low-dose heparin and in four receiving intermittent pneumatic calf compression (p = 0.54). Low-dose heparin patients received more blood transfusions postoperatively (p = 0.02), had increased volume of retroperitoneal drainage (p = 0.02), and the activated partial thromboplastin time was more frequently prolonged (p = 0.001).
Conclusions: Low-dose heparin and intermittent pneumatic calf compression provide similar reduction in reducing the incidence of postoperative venous thrombosis. However, low-dose heparin is more frequently associated with postoperative bleeding complications.