Thromboprophylaxis practice patterns in hip fracture surgery patients: experience in Perth, Western Australia
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BACKGROUND: International guidelines recommend that all patients undergoing hip fracture surgery receive specific thromboprophylaxis. The purpose of the present study was to examine current thromboprophylaxis practice patterns in patients undergoing hip fracture surgery at Royal Perth Hospital. METHODS: A total of 129 consecutive patients admitted to Royal Perth Hospital between 4 February and 21 July 2002 for surgical repair of a fractured neck of femur, was studied. The primary outcome was the frequency, type, and duration of thromboprophylaxis use during hospitalization. RESULTS: Mean patient age was 79.4 +/- 13.4 years and 69.8% (90/129) were female. Seventy-four patients (57.8%; 95% confidence interval (CI): 48.8-66.8%) received specific thromboprophylaxis during hospitalization, including 50 patients (39.1%; 95%CI: 30.6-48.1%) who received pharmacological prophylaxis only, three (2.3%; 95%CI: 0.5-6.7%) who received mechanical prophylaxis only, and 21 (16.4%; 95%CI: 10.5-24.0%) who received both mechanical and pharmacological prophylaxis. Of those receiving pharmacological prophylaxis, 35 (49.3%; 95%CI: 37.2-61.4%) received low-molecular-weight heparin, 26 (36.6%; 95%CI: 25.5-48.9%) received low-dose unfractionated heparin, eight (11.3%; 95%CI: 5.0-21.0%) received warfarin, 35 (49.3%; 95%CI: 37.2-61.8%) received aspirin or clopidogrel, and 27 (38.0%; 95% CI: 26.8-50.3%) received combined anticoagulant and antiplatelet prophylaxis. The median duration of mechanical prophylaxis was 8 days (range: 6-12 days) and that of pharmacological prophylaxis was 12 days (range: 6-26 days). When the 32 patients already taking aspirin or warfarin at the time of admission were excluded, only 45 (46.9%; 95%CI: 36.6-57.3%) of the remaining 96 patients received specific thromboprophylaxis. CONCLUSION: Specific thromboprophylaxis remains under-utilized in patients undergoing surgery for hip fracture at Royal Perth Hospital. These data should prompt the implementation of effective strategies to improve thromboprophylaxis practice patterns in high-risk orthopaedic patients.
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