BACKGROUND: Venous thromboembolism constitutes a major cause of morbidity associated with surgical procedures. Colorectal surgical patients are at an elevated risk for postoperative venous thromboembolism. Whether the laparoscopic approach influences this risk is not well defined.
OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to assess the risk of venous thromboembolism following major colorectal procedures. The influences of laparoscopic and open approaches on venous thromboembolism were compared while controlling for other potential confounders.
DESIGN: Patients who underwent major colorectal procedures were identified. Association between patient, disease, operation-related factors, and venous thromboembolism within 30 days of surgery was determined by the use of a logistic regression analysis.
SETTINGS: Patients were identified from the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database (2005–2008).
PATIENTS: According to the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database, 31,109 patients underwent colorectal surgery (open, 71%; laparoscopic, 29%) for cancer (48.3%), IBD (10.1%), diverticular disease (24.2%), and other benign conditions (17.4%).
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcomes measured were deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.
RESULTS: The venous thromboembolism rate was 2.4% (laparoscopic 1.2% vs open 2.9%, P < .001). Patients who developed venous thromboembolism were older (age 65.4 vs 61.5, P < .001), more often male (52.5% vs 47.5%, P = .023), with worse functional status (P < .001), and more comorbidities (P < .001). Venous thromboembolism was associated with sepsis (7.9% vs 1.8%, P < .001), steroid use (5.4% vs 2.2%, P < .001), surgical site infection (4.8% vs 2%, P < .001), and reoperation (7% vs 2.1%, P < .001). On multivariate analysis, open surgery, older age, steroid use, sepsis, surgical site infection, reoperation, prolonged ventilation, and low albumin were independently associated with a higher venous thromboembolism rate.
LIMITATIONS: The details regarding determinants of the decision for laparoscopic surgery, conversion rates for laparoscopic procedures, and thrombosis prophylaxis regimens were not available.
CONCLUSIONS: The laparoscopic approach is associated with a lower venous thromboembolism rate in comparison with open surgery, despite controlling for other variables. This additional benefit of the minimally invasive approach further supports its use, whenever feasible, for a variety of colorectal conditions.