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OBJECTIVE: The optimal duration of thromboprophylaxis in patients undergoing resection of primary lung cancer is not known. We investigated the incidence of pulmonary emboli and venous thromboembolism in patients undergoing early-stage lung cancer resection and the impact of change from short duration to extended thromboprophylaxis. METHODS: We reviewed the outcomes of consecutive patients who underwent resection of early-stage primary lung cancer following a change in protocol from inpatient-only to extended thromboprophylaxis to 28 days. Propensity-score matching of control (routine inpatient pharmacologic thromboprophylaxis) and treatment group (extended pharmacologic thromboprophylaxis) was performed. Adjustment for covariates based on the Caprini risk assessment model was undertaken. Thromboembolic outcomes were compared between the 2 groups. RESULTS: Seven hundred fifty consecutive patients underwent resection of primary lung cancer at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust between January 2013 and December 2018. Six hundred patients were included for analysis and propensity-score matching resulted in 253 matched pairs. Extended prophylaxis was associated with a significant reduction in pulmonary emboli (10 of 253 patients [4%] vs 1 of 253 patients [0.4%], P = .01). One patient (0.4%) developed a bleeding complication within the treatment cohort. Multivariable logistic regression model demonstrated that extended thromboprophylaxis was independently associated with a reduction in postoperative pulmonary emboli. CONCLUSIONS: Patients undergoing lung cancer resection surgery are at moderate-to-high risk of postoperative thromboembolic disease. Extended dalteparin for 28 days is safe and is associated with reduced incidence of pulmonary embolus in patients undergoing resection of early-stage primary lung cancer.

Original publication




Journal article


J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg

Publication Date



lung cancer, surgery, thromboprophylaxis, venous thromboembolism