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Evaluation of VTE prophylaxis and the impact of alternate regimens on post-operative bleeding and thrombotic complications following bariatric procedures



Studies examining utilization and impact of venous thromboembolism (VTE) chemoprophylaxis for patients undergoing bariatric surgery are limited. Determination of the optimal prophylactic regimen to minimize complications is crucial.


The Cerner Health Facts database from 2003 to 2013 was queried using ICD-9 codes to identify patients undergoing laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG) and Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB). VTE chemoprophylaxis regimens were divided into pre-operative alone (PreP), post-operative alone (PostP), both pre-operative and post-operative (PPP), or no prophylaxis (NP). Specific chemoprophylaxis agents were compared. Comparisons in inpatient clinical outcomes were based on univariate analysis and multivariable logistic regression when appropriate.


We identified 11,860 patients who underwent LSG and RYGB. 634 (5.35%) had PreP, 4593 (38.73%) had PostP, 2646 (22.31%) had PPP, and 3987 (33.62%) had NP. The overall rates of transfusion, DVT, and PE were 2.48, 0.27, and 0.18%, respectively. Patients without chemoprophylaxis had higher rate of DVT compared to any chemoprophylaxis (0.58 vs 0.11%, p < 0.0001), without any significant difference in PE rate. Patients with pre-operative chemoprophylaxis were more likely to receive transfusion compared to patients with post-operative prophylaxis alone (OR 1.98, 95% CI 1.28–3), without significant difference in having VTE. When examining heparin versus enoxaparin versus mixed regimen in the PostP group, mixed regimen was associated with increased transfusion requirements (p < 0.001).


Bariatric surgical VTE chemoprophylaxis utilization is inconsistent. In this study, post-operative VTE chemoprophylaxis was associated with decreased VTE events compared to NP, while minimizing bleeding compared to PreP. Mixed therapy using heparin and enoxaparin was associated with more bleeding.

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We acknowledge the biostatistical consultation and support provided by the Biostatistical Consulting Core at School of Medicine, Stony Brook University.

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Correspondence to Maria S. Altieri.

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Dr. Pryor receives honoraria for speaking for Ethicon, Medtronic, Stryker, and Gore; is a consultant for Medicines Company, Merck, and Intuitive; and received research support from Baronova and Obalon. Drs. Altieri, Yang, Spaniolas, Hajagos, Gasparis, Bates, Docimo, Shroyer, Talamini, and Ms. Park have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.

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Altieri, M.S., Yang, J., Hajagos, J. et al. Evaluation of VTE prophylaxis and the impact of alternate regimens on post-operative bleeding and thrombotic complications following bariatric procedures. Surg Endosc 32, 4805–4812 (2018).

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  • VTE events
  • Bariatric surgery