The selection of a regimen for venous thromboembolic prophylaxis after total joint arthroplasty is a balance between efficacy and safety. Bleeding may have a negative impact on clinical outcomes. Recently, both the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) developed new evidence-based guidelines for venous thromboembolic prophylaxis after total joint arthroplasty. On the basis of a review of the available literature, the AAOS guideline panel was unable to make a recommendation with respect to the selection of a specific prophylaxis regimen or duration of prophylaxis following routine total joint arthroplasty. The ACCP panel recommended one of the following modalities as prophylaxis (rather than no prophylaxis at all) for a minimum of fourteen days: warfarin, low-molecular-weight heparin, fondaparinux, aspirin, rivaroxaban, dabigatran, apixaban, or portable mechanical compression. Both the AAOS and the ACCP guidelines recommended against screening with postoperative duplex ultrasonography at the time of discharge after routine total joint arthroplasty. There is renewed interest in the use of mechanical compression as prophylaxis with the advent of portable compression devices, which allow continuation of this type of prophylaxis after hospital discharge. Although the early data are promising, appropriately powered randomized trials are needed to determine the efficacy of the devices compared with other prophylaxis regimens.

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