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A potentially expanded role for enoxaparin in preventing venous thromboembolism in high risk blunt trauma patients11 No competing interests declared.

Journal of the American College of Surgeons
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/s1072-7515(00)00802-4
  • Original Scientific Article
  • Medicine


Abstract BACKGROUND: Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a frequent and potentially life-threatening complication after trauma. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effectiveness of enoxaparin in preventing deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) after injury in patients who are at high risk for developing VTE. STUDY DESIGN: A prospective single-cohort observational study was initiated for seriously injured blunt trauma patients admitted to a Level I trauma center during a 7-month period. Patients were eligible for the study if time hospitalized was ≥ 72 hours, Injury Severity Score (ISS) was ≥ 9, enoxaparin was started within 24 hours after admission, and one or more of the following high risk criteria were met: age > 50 years, ISS ≥ 16, presence of a femoral vein catheter, Abbreviated Injury Score (AIS) ≥ 3 for any body region, Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) Score ≤ 8, presence of major pelvic, femur, or tibia fracture, and presence of direct blunt mechanism venous injury. Patients with closed head injuries and nonoperatively treated solid abdominal organ injuries were also potential participants. The primary outcomes measured were thromboembolic events—either a documented lower extremity DVT by duplex color-flow doppler ultrasonography or a PE documented by rapid infusion CT pulmonary angiography or conventional pulmonary angiography. RESULTS: There were 118 patients enrolled in the study. Two patients (2%) developed DVT, one of which was proximal to the calf (95% confidence interval, 0% to 6%). Two of 12 patients (17%) with splenic injuries who received enoxaparin failed initial nonoperative management. There were no other bleeding complications, and no clinical evidence or documented episodes of PE. One patient died from multiple system organ failure. CONCLUSIONS: Enoxaparin is a practical and effective method for reducing the incidence of VTE in high risk, seriously injured patients. This study supports further investigation into the safety of enoxaparin prophylaxis in patients with closed head injuries and nonoperatively treated solid abdominal organ injuries.

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