Get access

Thromboprophylaxis among Australasian colorectal surgeons


  • P. Smart MBBS, FRACS; K. Burbury FRACP, FRCPA; S. Lingaratnam BPharm, MPH; A. C. Lynch MMedSci, FRACS; J. Mackay FRACS, FRCS (Eng.); A. Heriot MD, FRACS.


Dr Philip Smart, Epworth Healthcare, 89 Bridge Road, Richmond, Vic. 3121, Australia. Email:



Thromboembolism is a common cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with colorectal cancer, but thromboprophylaxis (TP) is underutilized. Current guidelines do not make specific recommendations for colorectal cancer patients and provide minimal guidance for the ambulatory setting, although emerging evidence suggests TP may be warranted during chemoradiotherapy or in the extended post-operative phase. A survey of Australasian colorectal surgeons was therefore performed to assess current TP practice and attitudes.


An online survey was sent to 204 surgeons who were members of the Colorectal Surgical Society of Australia and New Zealand.


One hundred twenty-eight surgeons (63%) completed the survey. Most surgeons consult available guidelines, and where recommendations are made, current practice is in line with them. Lack of data, lack of ownership, logistical issues and an absence of guideline recommendations currently prevent surgeons from instituting TP in the neoadjuvant treatment period. Fifty-four per cent of surgeons currently prescribe TP after hospital discharge; those that do not, cite logistical issues as the main constraint.


More data on thromboembolism risk during various treatment phases are required and should be promulgated in tumour-specific guidelines. Logistical barriers to adopting TP in the ambulatory setting should be addressed.