Objective Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is reported to occur in up to 33% of patients undergoing major vascular surgery. Despite this high incidence, patients inconsistently receive timely VTE chemoprophylaxis. The true incidence of VTE among patients receiving delayed VTE chemoprophylaxis is unknown. We sought to identify the association of VTE chemoprophylaxis timing on VTE risk, postoperative transfusion rates, and 30-day mortality and morbidity in patients undergoing major open vascular surgery. Methods Patients undergoing major open vascular surgery (open abdominal aortic aneurysm [oAAA] repair, aortofemoral bypass, and lower extremity infrainguinal bypass [LEB]) were identified using the Michigan Surgical Quality Collaborative (MSQC) between July 2012 and June 2015. The VTE rate was compared between patients receiving early versus delayed VTE chemoprophylaxis. VTE chemoprophylaxis delay was defined as therapy initiation more than 24 hours after surgery. The risk-adjusted association of the chemoprophylaxis timing and VTE development was determined using multivariable logistic regression. Blood transfusion rates, 30-day mortality, and postoperative complications were compared across groups. Results A total of 2421 patients underwent major open vascular surgery, including 196 oAAA repair, 259 aortofemoral bypass, and 1966 LEB. The overall incidence of 30-day VTE was 1.40%, ranging from 1.12% for LEB to 3.57% for oAAA repair. Among patients receiving early VTE chemoprophylaxis, the rate of VTE was 0.78% versus 2.26% among those with a delay in VTE chemoprophylaxis (P =.002). When accounting for the preoperative risk of VTE, delayed chemoprophylaxis was associated with a significantly higher risk of VTE (odds ratio, 2.38; 95% confidence interval, 1.12-5.06; P =.024). The early VTE chemoprophylaxis group was associated with a significantly decreased risk of bleeding compared with those with a delay (14.31% vs 18.90%; P =.002). Overall 30-day mortality and postoperative complications were similar with the exception of an associated higher rate of infectious complications in the delayed VTE chemoprophylaxis group, including superficial surgical site infection (6.00% vs 4.06%; P =.028), pneumonia (3.25% vs 1.85%; P =.028), urinary tract infection (2.95% vs 1.57%; P =.020), and severe sepsis (3.05% vs 1.71%; P =.029). Conclusions Although patients undergoing major open vascular surgery have a low risk of VTE at baseline, there is a significantly greater risk of developing VTE among patients who have a delay in the administration of VTE chemoprophylaxis. Postoperative transfusion rates were significantly lower among patients receiving early chemoprophylaxis. There were no differences in the 30-day mortality and postoperative complications, except for infectious complications. Given these findings, surgeons should consider early chemoprophylaxis in the postoperative setting after major open vascular surgery without contraindication.