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Risk Factors Associated with Venous Thromboembolism in Isolated Blunt Chest Trauma

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Isolated chest trauma is not historically considered to be a major risk factor for venous thromboembolism (VTE). After blunt chest trauma, VTE may be underappreciated because pain, immobility, and inadequate prophylaxis as a result of hemorrhage risk may all increase the risk of VTE. This investigation determines the predictors and rate of VTE after isolated blunt chest trauma. A review of patients admitted to a Level I trauma center with chest trauma between 2007 and 2009 was performed. Demographics, injuries, VTE occurrence, prophylaxis, comorbidities, Injury Severity Score, intensive care unit/hospital length of stay, chest tube, and mechanical ventilation use were recorded. VTE rate was compared between those with isolated chest injury and those with chest injury plus extrathoracic injury. Predictors of VTE were determined with regression analysis. Three hundred seventy patients had isolated chest trauma. The incidence of VTE was 5.4 per cent (n = 20). The VTE rate in those with chest injury plus extrathoracic injury was not significantly different, 4.8 per cent (n = 56 of 1140, P = 0.58). Independent risk factors for VTE after isolated chest trauma were aortic injury (P < 0.01, odds ratio [OR], 47.7), mechanical ventilation (P < 0.01; OR, 6.8), more than seven rib fractures (P < 0.01; OR, 6.1), hemothorax (P < 0.05; OR, 3.9), hypercoagulable state (P < 0.05; OR, 6.3), and age older than 65 years (P < 0.05; OR, 1.03). Patients with the risk factors mentioned are at risk for VTE despite only having thoracic injury and might benefit from more aggressive surveillance and prophylaxis.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Division of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York

Publication date: May 1, 2013

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  • The Southeastern Surgical Congress owns and publishes The American Surgeon monthly. It is the official journal of the Congress and the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, which all members receive each month. The journal brings up to date clinical advances in surgical knowledge in a popular reference format. In addition to publishing papers presented at the annual meetings of the associated organizations, the journal publishes selected unsolicited manuscripts. If you have a manuscript you'd like to see published in The American Surgeon select "Information for Authors" from the Related Information options below. A Copyright Release Form must accompany all manuscripts submitted.
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