In the Absence of a Central Venous Catheter, Risk of Venous Thromboembolism Is Low in Critically Injured Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults: Evidence From the National Trauma Data Bank

Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2011 May;12(3):251-6. doi: 10.1097/PCC.0b013e3181f36bd9.


Objective: To describe the incidence and risk factors of venous thromboembolism in a large sample of critical care pediatric, adolescent, and young adult trauma patients.

Data source: The National Trauma Data Bank-the largest and most complete aggregation of trauma registry data in the United States.

Setting: Seven hundred eighty-four level I to level IV trauma centers.

Patients: Patients ≤ 21 yrs of age who spent at least 1 day in a critical care unit during a trauma admission between 2001 and 2005.

Measurements and main results: To characterize differences between patients with and without venous thromboembolism, we extracted variables regarding patient demographics, injury pattern and severity, procedures, total length of stay, and intensive care unit and ventilator days. Odds ratios for predictors of venous thromboembolism were estimated with a logistic regression model. Among the 135,032 critical care patients analyzed, venous thromboembolism was uncommon (6 per 1,000 discharges). Placement of a central venous catheter was a significant predictor of venous thromboembolism (odds ratio = 2.24; p < .0001) when populations were analyzed collectively. When we narrowed our focus to injuries associated with venous thromboembolism, such as lower-extremity fractures, the effects of central venous catheter were of even greater magnitude, particularly in adolescents and young adults. The risk of venous thromboembolism in critical care patients without a central venous catheter was <1% even in adolescents/young adults.

Conclusions: Venous thromboembolism is rare in young critical care trauma patients, even older adolescents. The absence of published data on both the baseline risk of venous thromboembolism in pediatric critical care patients and the efficacy and safety of venous thromboembolism prophylaxis preclude the ability to make definitive recommendations for the use of venous thromboembolism prophylaxis in this setting. Our results, however, suggest that venous thromboembolism prophylaxis may need to be considered only in critically injured adolescents and young adults with a continuing need for central venous access.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Catheterization, Central Venous*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Registries / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Assessment*
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Venous Thromboembolism / epidemiology
  • Venous Thromboembolism / etiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries*
  • Young Adult