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Venous Thromboembolism Incidence After Craniofacial Surgery

Omesiete, Wilson I. BS; Walker, James A. III BS; Yu, Jack C. MD, DMD

doi: 10.1097/SAP.0000000000001353

Introduction Current protocols for venous thromboembolism (VTE) prophylaxis after craniofacial surgery (CFS) vary widely with substantial disagreements in both indications and managements. An evidence-based approach to this issue requires the following: the incidence of postoperative VTE, comorbidities associated with coagulopathy, risk reduction after VTE prophylaxis, and complications attributable to prophylaxis. This study addresses the first two.

Design Retrospective cross-sectional study.

Methods Discharge data from 64,170 patients undergoing CFS between 2008 and 2013 extracted from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Nationwide Inpatient Sample were analyzed. The outcome measures extracted were: deep venous thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, demographic data, common comorbidities, length of stay, total cost, and discharge outcome.

Results Diagnoses of deep venous thrombosis or pulmonary embolism, collectively classified as VTE, were observed in 355 (0.55%) of 64,170 patients discharged after CFS. Other surgeries exhibited a VTE rate of 1.17%. Men exhibited nearly double the incidence of VTE relative to women (0.69% compared with 0.37% respectively, P < 0.001), and the risk factors of adulthood, advanced age, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and malignancy were associated with increased VTE incidence with odds ratios of 9.93, 3.66, 1.80, 2.02, and 2.02, respectively (P < 0.005). Tobacco use did not exhibit any significant association (odds ratio, 0.94; P = 0.679). Afflicted patients experienced 4.60 times longer hospital stays averaging 23.8 days (95% confidence interval, 21.4-26.2; P < 0.001) compared the average of 5.2 days experienced by CFS patients without VTE. They incurred an average cost of US $298,228 (95% confidence interval, 262,726 to 333,731; P < 0.001) which was 4.17 times the US $72,376 expense of treating other CFS patients. The likelihood for a CFS patient to experience a poor outcome at the time of discharge was 54.6% higher after VTE.

Conclusions The risk of postoperative VTE after CFS is significantly increased in adults, patients with advanced age, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and malignancy. However even in those high-risk cases, postoperative VTE incidence remains relatively low after CFS. These findings in conjunction with further study regarding the risk associated with the addition of VTE chemoprophylaxis compared against mechanical VTE prophylaxis, such as sequential pneumatic compression stockings, may determine whether routine use of VTE chemoprophylaxis is appropriate.

From the Section of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Augusta University, Augusta, GA.

Received June 16, 2017, and accepted for publication, after revision December 1, 2017.

Conflicts of Interest and Source of Funding: None declared.

Reprints: Wilson I. Omesiete, BS, Section of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Augusta University, 1467 Harper Street, HB-5040, Augusta, GA 30912-4080. E-mail:

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