European Guidelines on perioperative venous thromboembolism prophylaxis

This article is part of the European guidelines on perioperative venous thromboembolism prophylaxis. For details concerning background, methods and members of the ESA VTE Guidelines Task Force, please, refer to: Samama CM, Afshari A, for the ESA VTE Guidelines Task Force. European guidelines on perioperative venous thromboembolism prophylaxis. Eur J Anaesthesiol 2018; 35:73–76.

Introduction
The current Executive Summary includes all the recommendations
from the 12 chapters of the European guidelines
on perioperative venous thromboembolism (VTE)
prophylaxis.1–12 The objective is to allow the reader to
examine the guidelines rapidly and globally.
The rationale of each chapter and relevant references can
be found in each separate article.

Surgery in the obese patient
Bariatric surgery
-Laparoscopic bariatric procedures for obese patients
have a lower risk of VTE than open procedures.1
-We suggest using only anti coagulants or intermittent
pneumatic compression (IPC) for obese patients with a
low risk of VTE during and after bariatric procedures
(Grade 2C).
-We recommend using anti coagulants and IPC together
for obese patients with a high risk of VTE (age >55
years, BMI>55 kg.m2, history of VTE, venous
disease, sleep apnoea, hypercoagulability and pulmonary
hypertension) during and after bariatric procedures
(Grade 1C).
-We recommend the use of low molecular weight
heparin (LMWH) over low-dose unfractionated heparin
(LDUH) (Grade 1C).
-We suggest a dose of LMWH (3000 to 4000 anti-Xa IU
every 12 h subcutaneously) depending on BMI as
acceptable for obese patients with a lower risk of VTE
(Grade 2B).
-We suggest the use of a higher dose of LMWH (4000
to 6000 anti-Xa IU every 12 h subcutaneously) as
acceptable for obese patients with a higher risk of VTE
(Grade 2B).

Non-bariatric surgery
 We suggest that in surgery with an indication for VTE
prophylaxis, a higher prophylactic dose of LMWH
(3000 to 4000 anti-Xa IU every 12 h subcutaneously)
should be considered for obese patients with a BMI
more than 40 kg m2 undergoing non-bariatric surgery
(Grade 2C).
 For additional and general recommendations, we refer
to the section on ‘VTE prophylaxis of obese patients in
bariatric surgery’.1

Surgery during pregnancy and the immediate
post-partum period

Non-obstetric surgery during pregnancy
 We recommend thromboprophylaxis following surgery
during pregnancy or the post-partum period, when
they imply, as a consequence, bed-rest, until full
mobility is recovered (Grade 1C).2
 We suggest that thromboprophylaxis should be used in
cases of perioperative infection during pregnancy or
the postpartum period (Grade 2C).
Caesarean section
 Thromboprophylaxis is recommended after caesarean
section in all cases, except elective caesarean section in
low-risk patients (Grade 1C), but there is no clear
consensus on the definition of this population.
 The duration of thromboprophylaxis following caesarean
section should be at least 6 weeks for high-risk
patients, and at least 7 days for other patients requiring
anticoagulation (Grade 1C).

Surgery in the elderly
 Age over 70 years is a risk factor for postoperative VTE
(Grade B).3
 In elderly patients, we suggest identification of
comorbidities increasing the risk for VTE (e.g. congestive
heart failure, pulmonary circulation disorders, renal
failure, lymphoma, metastatic cancer, obesity, arthritis,
post-menopausal oestrogen therapy), and correction if
present (e.g. anaemia, coagulopathy) (Grade 2C).
 We suggest against bilateral knee replacement in
elderly and frail patients (Grade 2C).
 We suggest timing and dosing of pharmacological VTE
prophylaxis as in the non-aged population (Grade 2C).
 In elderly patients with renal failure, low-dose
unfractionated heparin (UFH) may be used or
weight-adjusted dosing of LMWH (Grade 2C).
 In the elderly, we recommend careful prescription of
postoperative VTE prophylaxis and early postoperative
mobilisation (Grade 1C).
 We recommend multi-faceted interventions for VTE
prophylaxis in elderly and frail patients, including
pneumatic compression devices, LMWH [and/or
direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) after knee or hip
replacement] (Grade 1C).

Day surgery and fast-track surgery
 We recommend that all patients undergoing an
ambulatory/fast-track protocol should be assessed for
the VTE risk of the procedure and for any personal/
additional VTE risk (Grade 1B).4
 For patients undergoing a low-risk procedure, without
additional risk according to the Caprini score, we
recommend general measures of thromboprophylaxis
(including early ambulation and optimal hydration)
over other specific measures (mechanical or pharmacological)
(Grade 1B).
 For patients undergoing a low-risk procedure with
additional risk factors, we recommend general measures
of thromboprophylaxis (e.g. early ambulation and
optimal hydration) (Grade 1B). We suggest assessing
pharmacological prophylaxis with LMWH over other
drugs (Grade 2B). We suggest the use of specific
mechanical measures (IPC devices) in patients with an
increased bleeding risk (Grade 2C).
 For patients undergoing a high-risk procedure without
additional risk factors, we recommend general measures
of thromboprophylaxis (e.g. early ambulation,
and optimal hydration) (Grade 1B). We suggest the
administration of pharmacological prophylaxis with
LMWH over other drugs (Grade 2B). We suggest
assessing specific mechanical measures (IPC) in
patients with an increased bleeding risk (Grade 2C).
 For patients undergoing a high-risk procedure with
additional risk factors, we recommend general measures
of thromboprophylaxis (e.g. early ambulation and
optimal hydration) and pharmacological prophylaxis
with LMWH over other drugs (Grade 1B), or specific
mechanical measures (IPC) in patients with an
increased bleeding risk (Grade 2C).
 We suggest the use of aspirin for VTE prevention after
total hip arthroplasty, total knee arthroplasty and hip
fracture surgery (high-risk orthopaedic procedures) in
patients without high VTE risk (Grade 2C).
 We suggest the use of aspirin for VTE prevention after
low-risk orthopaedic procedures in patients with high
VTE risk, or other high-risk orthopaedic procedures
(e.g. knee arthroscopy) in patients without high VTE
risk (Grade 2C).
 We recommend no pharmacological VTE prevention
after low-risk orthopaedic procedures in patients
without high VTE risk (Grade 1C).
 For pharmacological prophylaxis, we recommend a
minimum of 7 days’ duration of treatment over
protocols lasting 3 days or single-dose protocols
(Grade 1B), although in selected cases of fasttrack
surgery, thromboprophylaxis only during
hospitalisation could be an option (Grade 2C). We
recommend extending the duration of thromboprophylaxis
for up to 4 weeks in specific cases of high-risk
procedures, according to general rules (Grade 2B).
 When the choice of thromboprophylaxis is a LMWH,
the first dose could be administrated before surgery
(about 12 h before the beginning of the procedure) or
after surgery (optimal time from 6 to 8 h after the end of
the procedure) (Grade 2C). In case of planned neuraxial
anaesthesia for the procedure, postoperative administration seems to be the preferred option (Grade 2C).

Intensive care
 In critically ill patients, we recommend against the
routine use of compression duplex ultrasound screening
of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) (Grade 1B).5
 We recommend an institution-wide protocol for the
prevention of VTE that includes the use of mechanical
thromboprophylaxis, that is IPC (Grade 1B).
 For critically ill patients, we recommend using
thromboprophylaxis with LMWH or LDUH (Grade
1B), and we recommend LMWH over LDUH (Grade
1B).
 For VTE prophylaxis in critically ill patients with
severe renal insufficiency, we suggest the use of
LDUH (Grade 2C), dalteparin (Grade 2B) or reduced
doses of enoxaparin (Grade 2C). Monitoring of anti-Xa
activity may be considered when LMWH is used in
these patients (Grade 2C).
 The use of pharmacological prophylaxis in patients
with severe liver dysfunction should be carefully
balanced against the risk of bleeding. If a treatment is
administered, the use of LDUH or LMWH is
suggested (Grade 2C).
 We suggest no prophylaxis or the use of IPC in patients
with a platelet count less than 50109 l-1 and a highrisk
of bleeding (Grade 2C).
 For critically ill patients, we recommend against the
routine use of inferior vena cava (IVC) filters for
the primary prevention of VTE (Grade 1C). We
suggest the use of IVC filters in patients who can
neither receive pharmacological prophylaxis nor IPC
(Grade 2C).
 In critically ill patients with suspected or confirmed
diagnosis of heparin-induced thrombocytopaenia
(HIT), all forms of heparin must be discontinued
(Grade 1B). In these patients, immediate anticoagulation
with a non-heparin anticoagulant rather than
discontinuation of heparin alone is recommended
unless there is a strong contra-indication to anticoagulation
(Grade 1C). The selection of non-heparin
anticoagulants should be based on patient characteristics:
argatroban is the first choice in case of renal
insufficiency, and bivalirudin in patients undergoing
or after cardiac surgery (Grade 2C). The use of
fondaparinux can also be considered in these patients
(Grade 2C).

Cardiovascular and thoracic surgery
Cardiac and vascular surgery
 In the absence of risk factors, we suggest considering
the risk of VTE as moderate in patients undergoing
coronary artery bypass graft and bioprosthetic aortic
valve implantation surgery (Grade 2C). If the risk of
bleeding is to be considered high, we suggest the use of
mechanical prophylaxis using IPC (Grade 2C).6
 The presence of one or more risk factors (age above 70
years, transfusion of more than four units of red blood
cell concentrates/fresh frozen plasma/cryoprecipitate/
fibrinogen concentrate, mechanical ventilation more
than 24 h, postoperative complication (e.g. acute
kidney injury, infection/sepsis, neurological complication)
should place the cardiac population at high
risk for VTE. In this context, we suggest the use
of pharmacologic prophylaxis as soon as satisfactory
haemostasis has been achieved, in addition to IPC
(Grade 2C).
 Patients undergoing other valve surgery and those with
atrial fibrillation should be considered a specific entity
at high risk of VTE, as they will mostly require
postoperative therapeutic medical ‘bridging’ prior to
long-term anticoagulation.
 Patients undergoing peripheral vascular surgery are
considered to have a low risk of VTE and a low risk of
bleeding. Stringent medical prophylaxis appears to
reduce the event rate significantly. In this population,
we suggest medical therapy (Grade 2C).
 In patients undergoing abdominal aortic aneurysm
repair, particularly when an open surgical approach is
used, the risk for VTE is higher, with a high bleeding
risk. These patients should be considered as having a
moderate risk. Patients with additional risk factors,
including BMI at least 30 kgm2, preoperative
dyspnoea, chronic steroid usage, ruptured aneurysm,
open surgery, operative duration at least 5 h, transfusion
of at least 5 U, postoperative mechanical ventilation
more than 48 h, postoperative complication (acute
kidney injury, infection/sepsis) and re-operation,
should be considered as moderate to high risk. In
this context, we suggest the use of pharmacological
prophylaxis as soon as satisfactory haemostasis is
achieved (Grade 2C).
 We suggest that low-dose aspirin could be used to
decrease the incidence of VTE in cardiac and vascular
patients, but should not be considered as the sole agent
in high-risk patients. (Grade 2C).
 UFH is associated with the highest risk of developing
the prothrombotic condition of HIT. Therefore, in an
attempt to minimise the risk of HIT, we suggest that
UFH should be used as briefly as possible and replaced
by LMWH as soon as the bleeding risk decreases
(Grade 2C).
 In patients with severely impaired renal function
(Cockroft and Gault clearance <30 ml min1) and a
high risk of haemorrhagic complications, we suggest
close monitoring of the administration of therapeutic
UFH and LMWH and adaptation of the dosage
(Grade 2C).

Thoracic surgery
 Based on the current literature, patients undergoing
thoracic surgery in the absence of cancer could be
considered at low risk of VTE. However, as the vast
majority of patients undergoing thoracic surgery have a
diagnosis of primary or metastatic cancer, they should
be considered at high risk for VTE with an equally high
bleeding risk.
 In the absence of evidence regarding patients
undergoing minimally invasive procedures, the same
risk stratification should be applied as described above.
 In low-risk patients, we suggest the use of mechanical
prophylaxis using IPC (Grade 2C). In high-risk
patients, we suggest the use of pharmacological
prophylaxis in addition to IPC (Grade 2B).

Neurosurgery
Patients undergoing craniotomy
 We recommend that if IPC is used, it should be applied
before the surgical procedure or on admission, used
continuously (except when the patient is actually
walking) and monitored frequently to optimise
compliance (Grade 1C).7
 If LMWH or LDUH are used, we suggest delayed
initiation until at least 24 h after surgery. (Grade 2C).
 In craniotomy patients at particularly high risk of VTE
(additional risk factors including malignancy, motor
impairment, prolonged operative time), we suggest
considering the initiation of mechanical thromboprophylaxis
with IPC preoperatively with addition of
LMWH or LDUH postoperatively when the risk of
bleeding is presumed to be decreased (Grade 2C).
 We suggest that thromboprophylaxis should be
continued until discharge (Grade 2C).

Patients with non-traumatic intra cranial
haemorrhage

 We suggest thromboprophylaxis with IPC (Grade 2C).
 We recommend the application of IPC on admission,
used continuously (except when the patient is actually
walking) and monitored frequently to optimise
compliance (Grade 1C).
 For patients who have had non-traumatic intracranial
haemorrhage, we suggest giving consideration to
commencement of LMWH or LDUH when the risk
of bleeding is presumed to be low (Grade 2C).
 We suggest continuing thromboprophylaxis until full
mobilisation of the patient (Grade 2C).

Spinal surgery
 For patients with no additional risk factors, we suggest
no active thromboprophylaxis intervention apart from
early mobilisation (Grade 2C).
 For patients undergoing spinal surgery with additional
risk factors (limited mobility, active cancer, complex
surgical procedure), we recommend starting mechanical
thromboprophylaxis with IPC preoperatively
(Grade 1C), and we suggest the addition of LMWH
postoperatively when the risk of bleeding is presumed
to be decreased (Grade 2C).
 IfLMWHis used, we recommend delayed initiation at
least until 24 h after surgery and only when haemostasis
occurs (Grade 1C).
 We suggest continued thromboprophylaxis until
discharge in high-risk patients (Grade 2C).
 In patients with spinal cord injury or significant motor
impairment, we suggest extending the thromboprophylaxis
into the rehabilitation phase of hospital care
(Grade 2C).

Chronic treatments with anti-platelet agents
 In patients receiving anti-platelet agents (APA)
chronically, we recommend thromboprophylaxis in
case of moderate/high VTE risk, whilst assessing the
risk of perioperative bleeding (Grade 1B).8
 In patients receiving APA chronically, if the risk of
VTE outweighs the risk of bleeding, we suggest
pharmacological (anticoagulant) prophylaxis (LMWH,
DOAC, fondaparinux, depending on the indication)
(Grade 2C).
 In patients treated with dual anti-platelet therapy
(recent coronary stent implantation) undergoing a
procedure associated with a high risk of VTE, we
suggest resuming both APA shortly after the procedure,
prioritising over pharmacological VTE prevention
(Grade 2C).
 If an anti-coagulant is associated with an APA, we
suggest the administration of the lowest approved dose
(Grade 2C).
 If the risk of bleeding of a combination of an APA
and an anticoagulant outweighs the risk of VTE, we
suggest considering IPC over anticoagulant prophylaxis,
without discontinuing the APA (Grade 2C).
 Patients in whom neuraxial anaesthesia is planned,
although the administration of aspirin alone does
not increase the incidence of spinal haematoma,
a higher rate of complications could appear if
pharmacological thromboprophylaxis is administered
concurrently. In these patients, postoperative thromboprophylaxis
initiation should be suggested
(Grade 2C).
 After surgery, the first dose of aspirin should be given
as soon as possible, once haemostasis is considered
adequate (in general, the day after surgery) (Grade 2B).
In the case of clopidogrel, the main recommendation is
to give the drug without any loading dose between 24
and 48 h after surgery (Grade 2C).
 Monitoring for clinical signs of bleeding or unexplained
anaemia is recommended during concomitant
administration of an anticoagulant for
thromboprophylaxis (LMWH, UFH, fondaparinux,
warfarin or any other) and an APA throughout the
postoperative period (Grade 1C).
 Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs should be
avoided in patients treated with APA (Grade 2C).

Patients with pre-existing coagulation
disorders and after severe perioperative
bleeding

 In patients with inherited bleeding disorders undergoing
surgery, we recommend assessment of individual
risk for VTE, taking into account the nature of the
surgery and anaesthetic, type and severity of haemophilia,
age, BMI, history of thrombosis and the
presence of malignancy and other high-risk comorbidities.
VTE risk should be balanced against the
increased bleeding risk associated with anticoagulant
use in patients with haemophilia (Grade 1C).9
 For the perioperative management of patients with
inherited bleeding disorders, we suggest liaison with
haematologists to guide treatment (Grade 2C).
 We suggest that if factor replacement therapy is
required for perioperative haemostasis, excess use
should be avoided and factor levels monitored carefully
(Grade 2C).
 In patients with inherited bleeding disorders undergoing
major surgery, we suggest mechanical thromboprophylaxis,
(Grade 2C), especially in factor VII
deficiency (Grade 1C).
 In patients with inherited bleeding disorders undergoing
major surgery, we recommend against routine
postoperative use of pharmacological thromboprophylaxis,
especially for patients with haemophilia A or B
(Grade 1B).
 If the balance of risks favours pharmacological
thromboprophylaxis, we suggest that LMWH should
be administered as for patients without haemophilia
undergoing the same surgery, and factor VIII/IX levels
should be maintained at 0.6 to 1.0 IU ml1 (Grade 2C).
 In haemophilia patients with inhibitors, we suggest
against the use of pharmacological thromboprophylaxis
(Grade 2C).
 We recommend that patients with haemophilia who
require perioperative factor concentrate are monitored
with daily factor levels for the first 3 to 5 days to guide
treatment and to avoid wide fluctuations in factor
levels (Grade 1C).
 We recommend that, for major surgery, factor levels
of 0.8 to 1.0 IU ml1 should be aimed for and not be
allowed to fall below 0.5 IU ml1 or rise above
1.5 IU ml1 in the postoperative period (Grade 1B).
 In general, we recommend against routine thrombophilia
screening for patients with haemophilia undergoing
surgery (Grade 1C).
 We recommend that patients treated with factor
concentrate in the perioperative and postoperative
period should have both factor VIII and von
Willebrand factor levels monitored to avoid an
excessive rise in factor levels and accumulation of
factor VIII. We recommend checking levels every
12 h for the first 24 h after major surgery, and daily
thereafter (Grade 1B).
 We recommend that the use of factor concentrate with
the highest ratio between vWF:RCo and factor
VIII :C should be considered to minimise the risk of
factor VIII accumulation (Grade 1C).
 We recommend that use of factor XI concentrate is
kept to a minimum to avoid increasing the thrombotic
risk (Grade 1C).
 We recommend that all patients receiving factor XI
concentrate have mechanical thromboprophylactic
measures (Grade 1C) and suggest that they are
considered for pharmacological thromboprophylaxis
(Grade 2C).
 We suggest that tranexamic acid alone is useful for
patients with mild factor XI deficiency but should not
be given as haemostatic prophylaxis to patients
receiving factor XI concentrate (Grade 2C).
 In patients with factor VII deficiency, we suggest that
they are considered for pharmacological thromboprophylaxis,
if they have associated risk factors (Grade 2C).
 We suggest that for major surgery, fibrinogen levels
should be closely monitored aiming to maintain levels 1
to 1.5 g l1 for 10 to 14 days postoperatively (Grade 2C).
 Perioperative management may require simultaneous
use of fibrinogen concentrate and LMWH, depending
on the clinical phenotype (Grade 2C).
 Glomerular filtration rate should be assessed before
any direct oral anticoagulant (DOAC) is initiated and
again, at least once yearly or more frequently as
needed, such as postoperatively before the resumption
of therapeutic DOAC administration, when it is
suspected that renal function could decline or
deteriorate (Grade 1C).
 The use of the Cockroft–Gault method to evaluate
renal function of patients with DOAC is suggested
(Grade 2C).
 We suggest that anti-Xa levels may be measured in
cases of severe bleeding in patients with renal
impairment receiving LMWH (Grade 1C).
 Clinical exclusion of signs of postoperative bleeding is
more relevant for postponing the commencement of
VTE prophylaxis rather than relying on any specific
laboratory tests (Grade 2C).
 We suggest against the systematic use of standard
laboratory tests to exclude persistence of acquired
perioperative coagulopathy before VTE prophylaxis
(Grade 2C).
 Reduced dosages of LMWHs may be used relatively
safely during transient severe (<50109 l1) thrombocytopaenia
(Grade 2C).
 Monitoring anti-Xa level may be used to adjust the
doses of LMWH in patients with moderate or severe
thrombocytopaenia (Grade 2C).

 In cancer patients or patients with haematologicaldisorders and mild thrombocytopaenia (platelet count 80109 l1), pharmacological prophylaxis may be used; if the platelet count is below 80109 l1,
pharmacological prophylaxis may only be considered
on a case-by-case basis and careful monitoring is
recommended (Grade 2C).
 Patients with a high thrombotic risk (e.g. mechanical
heart valves) may benefit from resuming warfarin
therapy despite ongoing risk for recurrent gastrointestinal
bleeding (Grade 2C).
 Patients with a HAS-BLED score lower than the
CHADS2 score may benefit from earlier resumption
(Grade 2C).
 The delay between major gastrointestinal bleeding
and warfarin resumption should be at least 7 days
(Grade 2C).
 We suggest International Normalised Ratio at the
time of bleeding may also be considered to resume
anticoagulation (Grade 2C).
 We suggest resuming anticoagulant therapy 12 h
after removal of drains in cases of cardiac tamponade
(Grade C).
 When the risk of bleeding diminishes, pharmacological
VTE prophylaxis may be initiated depending on
thrombotic risk factors (Grade 2C).
 We recommend that, when the risk of postoperative
bleeding is higher than the risk of a thromboembolic
event, full dose anticoagulation may be resumed 48 or
72 h after the procedure (Grade 2B).
 For patients at high risk for thromboembolism and with
a high bleeding risk after surgery, we consider that
administering a reduced dose of DOAC on the evening
after surgery and on the following day (first postoperative
day) after surgery is good practice (Grade 2B)

Mechanical prophylaxis
 We recommend an institution-wide protocol for
the prevention of VTE that integrates early ambulation,
pharmacological thromboprophylaxis with
anticoagulants and mechanical thromboprophylaxis
(Grade IB).10
 We recommend against the routine use of graduated
compression stockings (GCS) without pharmacological
thromboprophylaxis to prevent VTE in patients at
intermediate and high risk (Grade IB).
 In patients with contra-indications to pharmacological
thromboprophylaxis, we recommend the use of
mechanical prophylaxis with IPC or GCS (Grade IB)
and suggest the use of IPC over GCS (Grade 2B).
 In patients with contra-indications for pharmacological
thromboprophylaxis who are not at high risk for VTE,
we suggest no prophylaxis over GCS alone (Grade 2C).
 In patients receiving pharmacological thromboprophylaxis
who are not at very high risk for VTE, we
recommend against the routine use of mechanical
thromboprophylaxis with GCS or IPC (Grade IB).
 We suggest combined mechanical and pharmacological
prophylaxis in selected patients at very high risk for
VTE (grade 2B). We suggest the use of IPC rather than
GCS in selected high-risk patients in addition to
pharmacological thromboprophylaxis (Grade 2B).

Aspirin
 We recommend the use of aspirin as an option for VTE
prevention after total hip arthroplasty, total knee
arthroplasty and hip fracture surgery (Grade 1B).11
 We suggest the use of aspirin for VTE prevention after
total hip arthroplasty, total knee arthroplasty and hip
fracture surgery (high-risk procedures) in patients
without high VTE risk (Grade 2C).
 We suggest the use of aspirin for VTE prevention after
low-risk orthopaedic procedures in patients with a high
VTE risk or other high-risk orthopaedic procedures in
patients without a high VTE risk (Grade 2C).
 We suggest the use aspirin for VTE prevention after
total hip arthroplasty, total knee arthroplasty and hip
fracture surgery in patients with an increased bleeding
risk (Grade 2C).
 We suggest the use of aspirin for VTE prevention
after total hip arthroplasty or total knee arthroplasty
in a rapid recovery (fast-track) programme (Grade 2C).
 We recommend combining aspirin with IPC devices
for VTE prevention after total hip arthroplasty, total
knee arthroplasty and hip fracture surgery (Grade 1C).
 We recommend no pharmacological VTE prevention
after low-risk orthopaedic procedure in patients
without high VTE risk (e.g. knee arthroscopy)
(Grade 1C).
 No recommendation can be made concerning dose and
duration of aspirin treatment and patient selection.
 We do not recommend aspirin for thromboprophylaxis
in general surgery (grade 1C). However, this type of
prophylaxis could be interesting, especially in lowincome
countries (Grade 2C), and adequate large-scale
trials with proper study designs should be carried out
(Grade 1C).

Inferior vena cava filters
 There is currently no clear evidence on the efficacy
and safety of IVC filters (IVCF) in patients with a
contra-indication for pharmacological and mechanical
thromboprophylaxis undergoing high-thrombotic-risk
surgery or procedures (Grade B).12
 IVCF-associated complications often seem to outweigh
a potential benefit (Grade B).
 We suggest considering temporary IVCF placement in
patients at high VTE risk when pharmacological and
mechanical thromboprophylaxis are fully contra-indicated
(Grade 2C).
 We suggest considering temporary IVCF placement in
patients with documented recent DVT, and with an
absolute contra-indication for full anticoagulation and
planned non-deferrable major surgery (Grade 2C).
 We suggest not systematically using IVCFs to prevent
pulmonary embolism in the perioperative setting (Grade 2B).



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