Does the continuation of the use of low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) after being discharged from the hospital from an abdominal or pelvic surgery decrease the likelihood of developing a venous thromboembolism (VTE) compared with receiving LMWH only during hospitalization?

Each year, VTE—including pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis—affects more than 900 000 people in the United States, resulting in approximately 100 000 deaths and billions of dollars in associated costs. As more and more people develop risk factors for VTE, the number of people affected by VTE is expected to increase further. Patients commonly develop VTE after a surgery and hospitalization, often after discharge.

Abdominal and pelvic surgeries, like other major surgeries, create in a patient a hypercoagulable state that can last several weeks after discharge, increasing the risk of VTE formation. Pharmacological prophylaxis for VTE is effective in at-risk...

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