Double Blind Pilot Randomized Trial Comparing Extended Anticoagulation to Placebo Following Major Lung Resection for Cancer
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Venous thromboembolism (VTE), which comprises pulmonary embolus (PE) and deep vein thrombosis (DVT), is a significant cause of postoperative morbidity and mortality. This pilot randomized control trial (RCT) evaluated the feasibility of a full-scale RCT investigating extended thromboprophylaxis in patients undergoing oncological lung resections. Patients undergoing oncological lung resections in 2 tertiary centers received in-hospital, thromboprophylaxis and were randomized to receive post-discharge low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) or placebo injections once-daily for 30 days. At 30 days postoperatively, all patients underwent chest computed tomography with PE protocol and bilateral leg venous ultrasound. Primary outcomes included feasibility and safety; VTE incidence and 90-day survival were secondary outcomes. Between December 2015 and June 2018, 619 patients were screened, of whom 62.7% (165/263) of eligible patients consented to participate, and 133 (81%) were randomized. One-hundred and 3 patients, (77.4%), completed the 90-day study follow-up. Reasons for non-participation pre-randomization included patient discomfort and LMWH/placebo administration challenges. Post-randomization withdrawals were due to patient preference, surgeon preference and minor adverse events. Six asymptomatic VTE events (5 PE and 1 DVT) were detected within 30 days (3 in each group), for an overall incidence of 7%. There were 3 minor and no major adverse events. This study is the first to demonstrate the feasibility and safety of a full-scale extended thromboprophylaxis RCT in thoracic surgical oncology. Our results demonstrate that, while recruitment and retention rates were modest, the study design is feasible and with minimal adverse events and no intervention-related mortality.