Background: Currently, there is no strong evidence on the effectiveness and safety of pharmacological antithrombotic prophylaxis in thyroid surgery. The aim of this study was to establish whether the prophylactic use of low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) could negatively affect the early outcomes of patients undergoing total thyroidectomy. Methods: Data from patients submitted to total thyroidectomy between February 2013 and October 2017 were retrospectively collected and analysed. Only patients with indication to antithrombotic prophylaxis according to current guidelines were included in the study. Eligible cases were divided into two groups, which corresponded to two distinct periods of our surgical practice: Group A, which included 178 consecutive patients who were submitted to antithrombotic prophylaxis with LMWH, and Group B, which included 348 consecutive patients who did not receive prophylaxis. Primary endpoints were the incidence of post-operative cervical haematomas (POCH) and thromboembolic events. Secondary endpoint was the length of postoperative hospital stay. Statistical analysis was performed by using Student's t test for continuous variables and Chi-square test for categorical variables. A P value of less than 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: The two groups of patients were comparable in terms of age, gender, thyroid disease, duration of surgery, and weight of the thyroid gland. Overall, no thromboembolic events were registered. The comparative analysis of the other outcome measures, showed no significant differences between the two groups (POCH: 2 cases (1.12%) in Group A vs 8 cases (2.30%) in Group B - p 0.349; Postoperative hospital stay: 2.90 ± 0.86 days in Group A vs 2.89 ± 0.99 days in Group B - p 0.908). Conclusions: Data from this study do not support or contraindicate the use of antithrombotic prophylaxis in thyroid surgery. However, since thyroidectomy is a closed-space procedure, and even modest bleeding may quickly result in airway compression and death by asphyxia, mechanical prophylaxis should be preferred to LMWH whenever possible. Trial registration: ISRCTN ISRCTN12029395. Registered 05/02/2018 retrospectively registered.
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