The Safety and Feasibility of Low-Molecular-Weight He-parin Prophylaxis in Major Abdominal Surgery Combined with Neuraxial Anesthesia


Background: Global guidelines for venous thromboembolism (VTE) prophylaxis of patients undergoing major surgery are well established. However, their applicability and safety in patients receiving neuraxial anesthesia is unproven. We sought to evaluate the safety and feasibility of chemical VTE prophylaxis in a prospective group of patients undergoing major foregut procedures under a combination of epidural and general anesthesia. Methods: A prospective database of all patients undergoing major foregut surgery from 2004-2009 was maintained and analyzed. Epidural catheters were placed pre-operatively and used for post-operative analgesia for three days in all patients. Factors evaluated included age, ethnicity, sex, length of stay, duration of epidural placement, complications of epidural placement and post-operative management, and VTE events. A uniform protocol was followed regarding the timing of low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) administration with epidural catheter insertion/removal. Results: A total of 237 patients formed the study group. The mean age was 57 years (range, 19 - 88) among 121 (51.1%) women and 65 years (range, 20 - 95) among 116 (48.9%) men. One hundred and sixty-six patients were Caucasian (70%), 37 Black (15.6%), 15 Hispanic (6.3%), 12 Asian/Pacific (5.1%), and 7 other (3%). All epidural catheters were removed on the third post-operative day. There were a total of five VTE (2.1%) events postoperatively. No peri-operative or post-operative epidural catheter associated complications occurred. Conclusions: Concomitant epidural catheterization and LMWH anticoagulation is safe and feasible in major abdominal surgery patients, including those undergoing major hepatic resection. Guidelines for VTE prophylaxis and LMWH administration in the setting of neuraxial anesthesia are well established and applicable to this unique patient population.

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B. Protyniak, M. Meadows, H. Pak and R. Chamberlain, "The Safety and Feasibility of Low-Molecular-Weight He-parin Prophylaxis in Major Abdominal Surgery Combined with Neuraxial Anesthesia," Surgical Science, Vol. 3 No. 4, 2012, pp. 177-184. doi: 10.4236/ss.2012.34034.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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