Appropriate venous thromboembolism (VTE) chemoprophylaxis in trauma and emergency general surgery (EGS) patients is crucial.
The purpose of this study is to review the recent literature and offer recommendations for VTE chemoprophylaxis in trauma and EGS patients.
We conducted a literature search from 2000 to 2021 for articles investigating VTE chemoprophylaxis in adult trauma and EGS patients. This study was conducted in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) guidelines.
Our search resulted in 34 articles. Most studies showed low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) is similar to unfractionated heparin (UFH) for VTE prevention; however, LMWH was more commonly used. Adjusted chemoprophylaxis dosing did not change the VTE rate but the timing did. Direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) have been shown to be safe and effective in trauma and traumatic brain injury (TBI)/spinal cord injury (SCI). Studies showed VTE prophylaxis in EGS can be inconsistent and improves with guidelines that lower VTE events.
There may be no benefit to receiving LMWH over UFH in trauma patients. In addition, different drugs under the class of LMWH do not change the incidence of VTE. Adjusted dosing of enoxaparin does not seem to affect VTE incidence. The use of DOACs in the trauma TBI and SCI setting has been shown to be safe and effective in reducing VTE. One important consideration with VTE prophylaxis may be the timing of prophylaxis initiation, specifically as it relates to TBI, with a higher likelihood of developing VTE as time progresses. EGS patients are at a high risk of VTE. Improved compliance with clinical guidelines in this population is correlated with decreased thrombotic events.