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Rivaroxaban vs. low molecular weight heparin for the prevention of venous thromboembolism after hip or knee arthroplasty: a cohort study


Background — Rivaroxaban is increasingly used to prevent venous thromboembolism after hip or knee arthroplasty. Studies evaluating the effectiveness of rivaroxaban compared to low molecular weight heparin after orthopedic surgery in routine practice are scarce.

Patients and Methods — We conducted a retrospective cohort study in 121 hospitals in Ontario, Canada, between 2002 and 2012. We included patients aged 66 years or older (median age 73 years) who received an outpatient prescription for subcutaneous low molecular weight heparin (n=11 471) or oral rivaroxaban (n=12 850) on hospital discharge after a total knee or hip arthroplasty. The two coprimary outcomes assessed within 30 days of the prescription date were emergency department visit or hospitalization with venous thromboembolism (either deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism; primary efficacy outcome) and a hospitalization with non-traumatic major hemorrhage (primary safety outcome).

Results — Rivaroxaban use increased over the study period. Compared to low molecular weight heparin, rivaroxaban was associated with a lower 30-day risk of hospitalization with venous thromboembolism (0.47% vs. 0.81%; relative risk 0.58; 95% confidence interval 0.42–0.81;P=0.001) with no significant difference in hospitalizations for major bleeding (0.18% vs. 0.20%; relative risk 0.89; 95% confidence interval 0.50–1.59; P=0.700).

Conclusions — In routine practice, anticoagulant prophylaxis with rivaroxaban compared to low molecular weight heparin after hospital discharge from total hip or knee arthroplasty is associated with a lower risk of symptomatic venous thromboembolism with no difference in the risk of bleeding.



Lazo-Langner A, Fleet JL, McArthur E, Garg AX. J Thromb Haemost. 2014; 12(10):1626-35. Epub 2014 Jul 28.

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