Routine surveillance for diagnosis of venous thromboembolism after pleurectomy for malignant pleural mesothelioma.

The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery 2020 January 30 [Link]

De León LE, Bravo-Iñiguez CE, Fox S, Tarascio J, Freyaldenhoven S, Lapidot M, Jaklitsch MT, Bueno R



The purpose of this study was to determine the incidence of venous thromboembolism and utility of a routine surveillance program in patients undergoing surgery for mesothelioma.


Patients undergoing pleurectomy from May 2016 to August 2018 were included. A standardized surveillance program to look for venous thromboembolism in this group included noninvasive studies every 7 days postoperatively or earlier if symptomatic. All patients received external pneumatic compression sleeves in addition to prophylactic heparin. If deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolus was discovered, heparin drip was initiated until conversion to therapeutic anticoagulation.


A total of 100 patients underwent pleurectomy for mesothelioma. Seven patients were found to have preoperative deep vein thrombosis, and as such only 93 patients were included for analysis. The median age of patients at surgery was 71 years (30-85 years). During the study, 30 patients (32%) developed evidence of thrombosis; 20 patients (22%) developed only deep vein thrombosis without embolism, 3 patients (3%) developed only pulmonary embolism, and 7 patients (7%) developed both deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolus. Of the 27 patients who developed deep vein thrombosis, 9 (33%) were asymptomatic at the time of diagnosis, and none of these developed a pulmonary embolus or other bleeding complications. There were 2 (2%) events of major postoperative bleeding related to therapeutic anticoagulation.


The incidence of venous thromboembolism is high (32%) among patients undergoing surveillance after pleurectomy for mesothelioma. Up to 33% of patients with deep vein thrombosis are asymptomatic at the time of diagnosis, and the incidence of complications related to anticoagulation is low. Routine surveillance may be useful to diagnose and treat deep vein thrombosis before it progresses to symptomatic or fatal pulmonary embolus.