Aspirin and the prevention of venous thromboembolism following total joint arthroplasty: Commonly asked questions

I. Azboy, R. Barrack, A. M. Thomas, F. S. Haddad, J. Parvizi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


The number of arthroplasties being performed increases each year. Patients undergoing an arthroplasty are at risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) and appropriate prophylaxis has been recommended. However, the optimal protocol and the best agent to minimise VTE under these circumstances are not known. Although many agents may be used, there is a difference in their efficacy and the risk of bleeding. Thus, the selection of a particular agent relies on the balance between the desire to minimise VTE and the attempt to reduce the risk of bleeding, with its undesirable, and occasionally fatal, consequences. Acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) is an agent for VTE prophylaxis following arthroplasty. Many studies have shown its efficacy in minimising VTE under these circumstances. It is inexpensive and well-tolerated, and its use does not require routine blood tests. It is also a 'milder' agent and unlikely to result in haematoma formation, which may increase both the risk of infection and the need for further surgery. Aspirin is also unlikely to result in persistent wound drainage, which has been shown to be associated with the use of agents such as low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) and other more aggressive agents. The main objective of this review was to summarise the current evidence relating to the efficacy of aspirin as a VTE prophylaxis following arthroplasty, and to address some of the common questions about its use. There is convincing evidence that, taking all factors into account, aspirin is an effective, inexpensive, and safe form of VTE following arthroplasty in patients without a major risk factor for VTE, such as previous VTE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1420-1430
Number of pages11
JournalBone and Joint Journal
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2017


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