Association of Venous Thromboembolism Prophylaxis after Neurosurgical Intervention for Traumatic Brain Injury with Thromboembolic Complications, Repeated Neurosurgery, and Mortality

James P. Byrne*, Christopher D. Witiw, James M. Schuster, Jose L. Pascual, Jeremy W. Cannon, Niels D. Martin, Patrick M. Reilly, Avery B. Nathens, Mark J. Seamon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

Importance: There is a lack of evidence regarding the effectiveness and safety of pharmacologic venous thromboembolism (VTE) prophylaxis among patients who undergo neurosurgical interventions for traumatic brain injury (TBI). Objective: To measure the association between timing of VTE prophylaxis after urgent neurosurgical intervention for TBI and thromboembolic and intracranial complications. Design, Setting, and Participants: This retrospective cohort study included adult patients (aged ≥16 years) who underwent urgent neurosurgical interventions (craniotomy/craniectomy or intracranial monitor/drain insertion within 24 hours after admission) for TBI at level 1 and 2 trauma centers participating in the American College of Surgeons Trauma Quality Improvement Program between January 1, 2012, and December 31, 2016. Data were analyzed from January to August 2020. Exposures: Timing of pharmacologic VTE prophylaxis initiation after urgent neurosurgical intervention (prophylaxis delay) measured in days (24-hour periods). Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was VTE (deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism). Secondary outcomes were repeated neurosurgery (neurosurgical reintervention after initiation of VTE prophylaxis) and mortality. Hierarchical logistic regression models were used to evaluate the association between prophylaxis delay and each outcome at the patient level and were adjusted for patient baseline and injury characteristics. Results: The study included 4951 patients (3676 [74%] male; median age, 50 years [IQR, 31-64 years]) who underwent urgent neurosurgical intervention for TBI at 304 trauma centers. The median prophylaxis delay was 3 days (IQR, 1-5 days). After adjustment for patient baseline and injury characteristics, prophylaxis delay was associated with increased odds of VTE (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.08 per day; 95% CI, 1.04-1.12). Earlier initiation of prophylaxis was associated with increased risk of repeated neurosurgery. During the first 3 days, each additional day of prophylaxis delay was associated with a 28% decrease in odds of repeated neurosurgery (aOR, 0.72 per day; 95% CI, 0.59-0.88). After 3 days, each additional day of prophylaxis delay was associated with an additional 15% decrease in odds of repeated neurosurgery (aOR, 0.85 per day; 95% CI, 0.80-0.90). Earlier prophylaxis was associated with greater mortality among patients who initially underwent intracranial monitor/drain procedures, such that each additional day of prophylaxis delay was associated with decreased odds of death (aOR, 0.94 per day; 95% CI, 0.89-0.99). Conclusions and Relevance: In this cohort study of patients who underwent urgent neurosurgical interventions for TBI, early pharmacologic VTE prophylaxis was associated with reduced risk of thromboembolism. However, earlier initiation of prophylaxis was associated with increased risk of repeated neurosurgery. These findings suggest that although timely initiation of prophylaxis should be prioritized, caution should be used particularly during the first 3 days after the index procedure, when this risk appears to be highest.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJAMA Surgery
Volume157
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes

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