Published online Nov 18, 2014. doi: 10.5312/wjo.v5.i5.645
Revised: March 26, 2014
Accepted: May 28, 2014
Published online: November 18, 2014
The risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and the higher incidence of RA patients undergoing major orthopedic surgery is well recognized. The objective of the present study is to describe the incidence of VTE and discuss the correct prophylaxis in RA patients undergoing knee or hip replacement. A systematic review of studies on thromboprophylaxis in RA patients undergoing major orthopedic surgery was performed. Detailed information was extracted to calculate the rate of VTE in RA orthopedic patients and analyze the thromboprophylaxis performed and bleeding complications. Eight articles were eligible for full review. No difference in the overall rate of VTE was observed between RA patients and controls. No significant differences were found in RA patients in terms of bleeding complications. The data on the optimal prophylaxis to be used in RA patients were insufficient to recommend any of the several options available. In the absence of dedicated guidelines for the care of RA patients undergoing orthopedic surgery, management must be individualized to obtain favorable patient outcome, weighing up all the factors that might put the patient at risk for higher bleeding and thrombotic events.
Core tip: The purpose of this review is to quantify the incidence of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) undergoing major orthopedic surgery and to discuss the current management of VTE prophylaxis in RA patients undergoing major joint arthroplasty and establish whether these patients are at higher risk for VTE than the general population.