Deep venous thrombosis in the pediatric trauma population: an unusual event: report of three cases

Am Surg. 2000 Mar;66(3):273-6.


The incidence of deep venous thrombosis (DVT) in the pediatric population has been reported to be lower than in adults. Pediatric trauma patients have predisposing risk factors for DVT similar to those in the general trauma population. We reviewed the records of 2746 children under 16 years of age admitted to our Level I pediatric trauma service from 1989 to 1997. Only three cases of DVT were documented, all adolescents. DVT was located in the upper (n = 1) and lower (n = 1) extremity venous system. One patient presented with pulmonary embolism alone without identifiable DVT. Risk factors found were venous system manipulations, including atriocaval shunt, subclavian central line, and hyperinflated medical antishock trousers garment. Therapy consisted of heparin followed by warfarin anticoagulation. A vena cava filter was inserted in one patient for whom systemic anticoagulation was contraindicated. No DVT was seen in 1123 closed head injury patients or 29 spinal cord injury patients without associated risk factors. The thrombotic risk in pediatric trauma patients is low. Routine screening or prophylaxis is not indicated except for patients who are likely to remain immobile for an extended period of time and require prolonged rehabilitation, have venous manipulations, or present with clinical symptoms. Hematologic evaluation in patients with diagnosed DVT is necessary to identify individual risk factors.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic
  • Adolescent
  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use
  • Extremities / blood supply
  • Female
  • Heparin / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Immobilization / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Vena Cava Filters
  • Venous Thrombosis / etiology*
  • Venous Thrombosis / therapy
  • Warfarin / therapeutic use
  • Wounds and Injuries / complications*


  • Anticoagulants
  • Warfarin
  • Heparin