Here we describe a patient with bilateral pulmonary emboli (PE) associated with thrombin-based hemostatic matrix (TBHM) use in the setting of a possible venous injury during transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion in the treatment of degenerative spondylolisthesis at L4-5. TBHM products are gelatin granules mixed with human or bovine thrombin. They have been used in a wide variety of surgical procedures to facilitate local hemostasis though their use is not without complications. This is the first reported patient, to our knowledge, with a TBHM-related PE following spinal fusion. As TBHM is a widely used intraoperative hemostatic agent, surgeons should be aware of the risk of TBHM-associated PE, particularly when there is the potential for intravascular injection or dissemination. While our experience indicates that common pharmacological prophylaxis such as subcutaneous heparin is likely ineffective in reducing occurrence of PE in the setting of TBHM use, the PE was successfully treated with standard systemic anticoagulation. The authors would also add that when iliac injury is encountered during discectomy or interbody fusion through a posterior approach, use of TBHM may be a life-saving technique. Postoperatively, vascular surgery consultation is recommended and consideration should be given to systemic anticoagulation.
- Pulmonary embolus
- Thrombin-based hemostatic matrix
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Physiology (medical)