Oral Thromboprophylaxis Following Total Hip or Knee Replacement: Review and Multicentre Experience with Dabigatran Etexilate

D Kendoff*, 1, C Perka2, H.M Fritsche3, T Gehrke1, R Hube4
1 Department of Orthopaedic Joint Surgery and Endoprosthetics, ENDO-Klinik Hamburg, Germany
2 Center for Musculoskeletal Surgery Orthopaedic Department, Charité, University Medicine Berlin, Free and Humboldt-University of Berlin, Germany
3 Endogap Joint Replacement Institute, Klinikum Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
4 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, OCM Clinic, Munich, Germany

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© Kendoff et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the ENDO-Klinik Hamburg, Holstenstr. 2, D-22767 Hamburg, Germany; Tel: +49 40 3197 1798; Fax: +49 40 3197 1963; E-mail:


The risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in patients undergoing total knee or hip replacement surgery is high. As a result, thromboprophylaxis is highly recommended. While current thromboprophylactic agents, such as low molecular weight heparins (LMWH) and vitamin K antagonists, are safe and effective their use can be problematic. Therefore, there is a need for alternative anticoagulants that are as safe and effective as conventional agents, but are more convenient and easier to use. Dabigatran etexilate, a direct thrombin inhibitor, is one such anticoagulant. For VTE prevention following major orthopaedic surgery, dabigatran etexilate shows similar efficacy and safety to the LMWH enoxaparin, and is approved for use in more than 75 countries, including Europe and Canada. Here, we summarize and discuss the experiences of four German clinics that have recently introduced dabigatran etexilate into clinical practice. Overall, dabigatran etexilate was well received by patients, surgeons and nurses, and compared favourably with enoxaparin. Staff appreciated the oral, single-dose administration of dabigatran etexilate. Patient satisfaction was high, especially in those individuals who had previously used LMWHs. In this review, we also address a number of questions that were asked by patients or staff; this will be of relevance to orthopaedic surgeons and nurses. We conclude that, in these four German clinics, dabigatran etexilate offered an effective oral alternative to existing thromboprophylactic agents in patients undergoing major orthopaedic surgery.

Keywords: Anticoagulant, Dabigatran etexilate, Direct thrombin inhibitor, Hip replacement surgery, Knee replacement surgery, Thromboprophylaxis.