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BACKGROUND: Few studies have compared aspirin with direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) (DOACs = direct thrombin inhibitors and factor Xa inhibitors) for venous thromboembolism (VTE) prophylaxis after total hip arthroplasty (THA) and total knee arthroplasty (TKA). We assessed the efficacy and safety of aspirin compared with DOACs for VTE prophylaxis after THA and TKA using the world's largest joint arthroplasty registry. METHODS: We studied the National Joint Registry linked to English hospital inpatient episodes for 218,650 THA and TKA patients. Patients receiving aspirin were matched separately to patients receiving direct thrombin inhibitors and factor Xa inhibitors using propensity scores. Outcomes assessed at 90 days included VTE, length of stay, and adverse events. RESULTS: After THA, there was a significantly lower risk of VTE associated with the use of direct thrombin inhibitors (0.44%; odds ratio [OR], 0.69; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 0.55-0.87; P = .002) and factor Xa inhibitors (0.37%; OR, 0.63; 95% CI, 0.47-0.85; P = .003) compared with aspirin (0.63%). After THA, direct thrombin inhibitors (coefficient, -0.37 days; 95% CI, -0.43 to -0.31; P < .001) and factor Xa inhibitors (coefficient, -0.80 days; 95% CI, -0.87 to -0.74; P < .001) were associated with a reduced length of stay compared with aspirin. Similar findings for both outcomes were observed after TKA. Compared with aspirin, DOACs were not associated with an increase in the risk of short-term revision surgery, reoperation, major hemorrhage, wound disruption, surgical site infection, and mortality. CONCLUSION: After THA and TKA, DOACs were associated with a reduced risk of VTE compared with aspirin. DOACs were associated with a reduced length of stay, and DOACs were not associated with an increase in the risk of further surgery, wound problems, bleeding complications, or mortality compared with aspirin.

Original publication




Journal article


J arthroplasty

Publication Date





2631 - 2639.e6


anticoagulation, hip arthroplasty, knee arthroplasty, outcomes, venous thromboembolism, Anticoagulants, Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip, Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee, Aspirin, England, Humans, Northern Ireland, Registries, Venous Thromboembolism, Wales