Is Apixaban Safe and Effective for Venous Thromboembolism Prophylaxis After Primary Total Hip and Total Knee Arthroplasties?

Background: Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a serious complication of total hip arthroplasty (THA) and total knee arthroplasty (TKA). Apixaban is approved for VTE prophylaxis. This study seeks to ascertain the risk of VTE and bleeding complications in patients undergoing primary THA and TKA receiving apixaban for postoperative VTE prophylaxis for one of the following indications: high risk for VTE, previously on apixaban, and contraindication to the use of aspirin.

Methods: This is a retrospective cohort study of patients who underwent primary THA or TKA over a 17-month period and were prescribed apixaban for thromboprophylaxis postoperatively.

Results: 230 patients were included in the study, 110 TKA and 120 THA. The primary reasons for high-risk VTE status included personal and family history of VTE, and 13% were taking apixaban preoperatively for atrial fibrillation. 1 patient (0.43%) who underwent TKA had a DVT with PE. 2.6% of patients had wound complications requiring operative treatment, and 0.87% of THA patients underwent revision arthroplasty.

Conclusion: The use of apixaban for VTE prophylaxis after primary THA and TKA in patients at high risk for VTE, in patients previously on apixaban, and in patients with a contraindication to the use of aspirin is associated with a low risk of VTE and bleeding complications.

Keywords: Outcomes; anticoagulation; hip replacement; knee replacement; venous thromboembolism.