Thromboprophylaxis in patients with spinal trauma is often delayed due to the risk of bleeding and expansion of the intraspinal hematoma (ISH). Our study aimed to assess the safety of early initiation of thromboprophylaxis in patients with operative spinal trauma (OST).
We performed a 2014-2017 retrospective analysis of our level I trauma registry and included all adult patients with isolated OST who received low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH). Patients were stratified into early (≤48 h) and late (>48 h) initiation of LMWH groups. Outcomes were a decline in hemoglobin level, packed red blood cell transfusion, and progression of ISH. We performed multivariable logistic regression.
We identified a total of 526 patients (early: 332, late: 194). Mean age was 46 ± 22y, and the median spine abbreviated injury scale was 3 [2-4]. After thromboprophylaxis, 1.5% (8) of the patients had progression of ISH and 1% (5) underwent surgical decompression of the spinal canal. There was no difference between the two groups regarding the rate of postprophylaxis ISH progression (1.5% versus 1.6%, P = 0.11) or surgical decompression (0.9% versus 1.1%, P = 0.19). Patients who received LMWH within 48 hrs had a lower incidence of clinically significant deep vein thrombosis (2.4% versus 6.8%, P = 0.02), but no difference in pulmonary embolism (0.6% versus 1.6%, P = 0.33) or mortality (1.2% versus 1.5%, P = 0.41). On regression analysis, there was no difference regarding decline in hemoglobin levels (β = 0.079, [-0.253 to 1.025]; P = 0.23) or number of packed red blood cell units transfused (β = -0.011, [-0.298 to 0.471]; P = 0.35).
Thromboprophylaxis with LMWH within the first 48 h in patients with OST is safe and efficacious. Prospective studies are needed to further validate their risk-benefit ratio.
Level III therapeutic.

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