Objective: There is considerable practice variation and clinical uncertainty about the choice of prophylaxis for preventing venous thromboembolism in patients with traumatic brain injury. We performed a systematic review to assess both the effectiveness and safety of pharmacologic and mechanical prophylaxis, and the optimal time to initiate pharmacologic prophylaxis in hospitalized patients with traumatic brain injury. Data sources and study selection: MEDLINE®, EMBASE®, SCOPUS, CINAHL, International Pharmaceutical Abstracts, clinicaltrial.gov, and the Cochrane Library were searched in July 2012 to identify randomized controlled trials and observational studies reporting on the effectiveness or safety of venous thromboembolism prevention in traumatic brain injury patients. Data extraction: Paired reviewers extracted detailed information from included articles on standardized forms and assessed the risk of bias in each article. Data synthesis: Twelve studies (2 randomized controlled trials and 10 cohort studies) evaluated the effectiveness and safety of venous thromboembolism prophylaxis in patients with traumatic brain injury. Five of the included studies assessed the optimal timing of initiation of pharmacological prophylaxis. Low grade evidence supports the effectiveness of enoxaparin over control in reducing deep vein thrombosis. Low grade evidence also supports the safety of unfractionated heparin over control in reducing mortality in patients with traumatic brain injury. Evidence was insufficient for remaining comparisons and outcomes including the optimal timing of initiation of pharmacoprophylaxis. Conclusion: There is some evidence that pharmacoprophylaxis improves deep vein thromboses and mortality outcomes in patients hospitalized with traumatic brain injury. Additional studies are required to strengthen this evidence base.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)