SEATTLE – Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is common in cancer, but 10% of asymptomatic patients undergoing major oncologic surgery have a preoperative VTE, according to findings presented at the annual Society of Surgical Oncology Cancer Symposium.
The incidence of preoperative VTE was associated with increasing age, a history of previous VTE, and a diagnosis of sepsis 1 month prior to undergoing oncologic surgery.
Surprisingly, noted study author Dr. Melanie Gainsbury of Cedar’s Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, it was not associated with oncologic factors such as locally recurrent disease, metastatic disease, or the receipt of neoadjuvant therapy.
“One may argue that patients undergoing oncologic surgery should receive preoperative lower-extremity duplex screening,” especially those who appear to be at high risk, she said.
About one in five cases of VTE is cancer related, and postoperative VTE is a leading cause of morbidity in cancer patients. However, Dr. Gainsbury noted, the incidence of preoperative VTE has not been well established or studied.
In this study, she and her colleagues evaluated the prevalence and risk factors associated with preoperative VTE in asymptomatic patients who were undergoing major oncologic surgery at an academic medical center.
In their retrospective analysis, the investigators identified 412 patients from the hospital’s database who underwent open abdominopelvic oncologic surgery between 2009 to 2016. All patients in the cohort had received a preoperative lower-extremity venous duplex scan (VDS).
The authors found that the overall incidence of preoperative VTE detected on VDS in this asymptomatic population was 10.1%. Of this group, 48.6% of the VTEs were acute, 42.9% were chronic, and a small subset (8.5%) was classified as subacute.
The majority of VTEs (62.9%) were located below the knee, and all of those patients with above-the-knee VTEs (37.1%) received inferior vena cava filters prior to surgery.
None of the patients in this cohort experienced a postoperative pulmonary embolism.
The investigators also looked at various risk factors that could predispose patients to a higher risk of developing a VTE. They did not find any statistically significant differences between those with a preoperative VTE and those without one when looking at gender, body mass index, or cancer type.
There was, however, a statistically significant difference in age, with older age being significantly associated with preoperative VTE. Further analysis showed that patients were 1.3 times more likely to have a preoperative DVT for every 5-year increase in age (odds ratio, 1.3; 95% confidence interval, 1.1-1.6).
In addition, patients with preoperative VTEs were significantly more likely to experience postoperative complications, with an almost twofold increased incidence (25.7% vs. 13.2%, P = .046).
“Patients with preoperative VTE were 1.95 times more likely to develop a postoperative complication than patients without a preoperative VTE,” Dr. Gainsbury said.
In terms of comorbidities, there was no statistically significant difference in regards to history of a known lung disease, varicose veins, a known coagulation mutation, congestive heart failure, and inflammatory bowel disease.
There were also no statistical differences between hormone use or anticoagulants in patients with and without VTEs.
Of note, a recent history of sepsis appeared to be an important factor that put patients at risk for a subsequent VTE. “The preoperative VTE group had a higher rate of diagnosed sepsis during the month prior to surgery,” she said. “We believe that the preoperative diagnosis of sepsis represents a prior hospitalization and perhaps a sicker population at risk for VTEs.”
There was no funding source disclosed in the abstract. Dr. Gainsbury and her coauthors had no disclosures.