Aspirin versus low-molecular-weight heparin for venous thromboembolism prophylaxis in orthopaedic trauma patients: A patient-centered randomized controlled trial
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BACKGROUND: Emerging evidence suggests aspirin may be an effective venous thromboembolism (VTE) prophylaxis for orthopaedic trauma patients, with fewer bleeding complications. We used a patient-centered weighted composite outcome to globally evaluate aspirin versus low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) for VTE prevention in fracture patients. METHODS: We conducted an open-label randomized clinical trial of adult patients admitted to an academic trauma center with an operative extremity fracture, or a pelvis or acetabular fracture. Patients were randomized to receive LMWH (enoxaparin 30-mg) twice daily (n = 164) or aspirin 81-mg twice daily (n = 165). The primary outcome was a composite endpoint of bleeding complications, deep surgical site infection, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and death within 90 days of injury. A Global Rank test and weighted time to event analysis were used to determine the probability of treatment superiority for LMWH, given a 9% patient preference margin for oral administration over skin injections. RESULTS: Overall, 18 different combinations of outcomes were experienced by patients in the study. Ninety-nine patients in the aspirin group (59.9%) and 98 patients in the LMWH group (59.4%) were event-free within 90 days of injury. Using a Global Rank test, the LMWH had a 50.4% (95% CI, 47.7-53.2%, p = 0.73) probability of treatment superiority over aspirin. In the time to event analysis, LMWH had a 60.5% probability of treatment superiority over aspirin with considerable uncertainty (95% CI, 24.3-88.0%, p = 0.59). CONCLUSION: The findings of the Global Rank test suggest no evidence of superiority between LMWH or aspirin for VTE prevention in fracture patients. LMWH demonstrated a 60.5% VTE prevention benefit in the weighted time to event analysis. However, this difference did not reach statistical significance and was similar to the elicited patient preferences for aspirin.
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