Thromboembolic prophylaxis in blunt traumatic intracranial hemorrhage: a retrospective review

Am Surg. 2008 Oct;74(10):906-11.


There are few data in the literature on venous thromboembolic (VTE) prophylaxis for the traumatic population with intracranial hemorrhage (ICH). We reviewed our institutional experience and compared the incidence of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism in patients with ICH receiving either early prophylaxis (< 72 hours from admission) or late prophylaxis (> 72 hours from admission), and the respective incidences in progression of intracranial hemorrhage. We identified 124 patients for this study. There were 29 patients (23%) who received early (< 72 hours) pharmacological VTE prophylaxis and 53 patients (43%) received late (> 72 hours) prophylaxis. In the study, 42 patients had intermittent pneumatic compression devices and received no pharmacological VTE prophylaxis. Among those with pharmacological VTE prophylaxis, 10 patients (8%) developed VTE (9 deep vein thrombosis and 1 pulmonary embolism). Three patients with pharmacological VTE prophylaxis developed ICH progression, with one being clinically significant. Our institutional review demonstrated that it seems safe to initiate early pharmacological VTE prophylaxis in blunt head trauma with stable ICH. Nevertheless, further prospective randomized studies are needed to fully elucidate the safety and efficacy in the timing of prophylaxis for blunt head trauma with ICH.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use*
  • Enoxaparin / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Head Injuries, Closed / complications*
  • Head Injuries, Closed / diagnosis
  • Heparin / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Intracranial Hemorrhage, Traumatic / complications*
  • Intracranial Hemorrhage, Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Venous Thromboembolism / epidemiology
  • Venous Thromboembolism / etiology
  • Venous Thromboembolism / prevention & control*


  • Anticoagulants
  • Enoxaparin
  • Heparin