The use of perioperative thromboprophylaxis in urological surgery is common but not standardized.
To characterize international practice variation in thromboprophylaxis use in urological surgery.
We conducted a scenario-based survey addressing the use of mechanical and pharmacological thromboprophylaxis in urological cancer procedures (radical cystectomy [RC], radical prostatectomy [RP], and radical nephrectomy [RN]) among practicing urologists in Canada, Finland, and Japan. The survey presented patient profiles reflecting a spectrum of risk for venous thromboembolism; the respondents described their clinical practice.
The proportion of respondents who routinely used (1) mechanical, (2) pharmacological, and (3) extended pharmacological prophylaxis was stratified by procedure. A logistic regression identified characteristics associated with thromboprophylaxis use.
Of 1051 urologists contacted, 570 (54%) participated in the survey. Japanese urologists were less likely to prescribe pharmacological prophylaxis than Canadian or Finnish urologists (p < 0.001 for all procedures). Canadian and Finnish urologists exhibited large variation for extended pharmacological prophylaxis for RP and RN. Finnish urologists were most likely to prescribe extended prophylaxis versus Canadian and Japanese urologists (RC 98%, 84%, and 26%; Open RP 25%, 8%, and 3%; robotic RP 11%, 9%, and 0%; and RN 43%, 7%, and 1%, respectively; p < 0.001 for each procedure). Less variation was found regarding the prescription of mechanical prophylaxis, which was most commonly used until ambulation or discharge. The length of hospital stay was longer in Japan and may bias estimates of extended prophylaxis in Japan.
We found large variation in clinical practice regarding pharmacological thromboprophylaxis within and between countries. Knowledge translation of evidence-based guidelines may reduce problematic international variation in practice.
Use of medications to decrease blood clots after urological cancer surgery differs within and between countries. Closer adherence to urology guidelines addressing the prevention of blood clots may decrease this variation and improve patient outcomes.
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