Spinal anesthesia increases the risk of venous thromboembolism in total arthroplasty: Secondary analysis of a J-PSVT cohort study on anesthesia

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Clinical guidance on the choice of anesthetic modality vis-à-vis the risk of perioperative venous thromboembolism (VTE) is largely lacking because of a paucity of recent evidence. A comparative effect of general anesthesia and neuraxial blockade on the perioperative incidence of VTE has not been well-investigated.

We compared the effects of different types of anesthetic modalities on the risk of VTE after total hip arthroplasty (THA) and total knee arthroplasty (TKA).

This is a secondary analysis of the Japanese Study of Prevention and Actual Situation of Venous Thromboembolism after Total Arthroplasty (J-PSVT). Data pertaining to a total of 2162 patients who underwent THA and TKA at 34 hospitals were included in this analysis. We compared the different anesthetic modalities with respect to the incidence of VTE. The composite end-point was asymptomatic/symptomatic deep vein thrombosis detected using scheduled bilateral ultrasonography up to postoperative day (POD) 10 and fatal/non-fatal pulmonary embolism up to POD 10.

The study groups were as follows: general anesthesia (n = 646), combined epidural/general anesthesia (n = 1004), epidural anesthesia (n = 87), and spinal anesthesia (n = 425). On multivariate analysis, only spinal anesthesia was associated with a significant increase in the risk of VTE as compared with that associated with general anesthesia. Propensity score-matched analysis for “combined epidural/general anesthesia group” versus “spinal anesthesia group” demonstrated a 48% higher incidence of VTE (relative risk = 1.48, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.18–1.85) in the latter.

Spinal anesthesia was associated with a higher risk of postoperative VTE, as compared with that associated with combined epidural/general anesthesia, in patients undergoing total arthroplasty.

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