Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a potentially life-threatening complication among patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI). However, few reports describe the incidence of this important disease. We reviewed the incidence of symptomatic VTE among 124 consecutive admissions with TBI to a free-standing rehabilitation hospital over an 18-month period. Four patients manifested evidence of VTE within 2 months of injury: two with leg swelling, one with an oedematous arm, and one with respiratory distress. None of the patients with suspected VTE received prophylactic anticoagulant therapy. Diagnosis of VTE was confirmed with venograph in two of the four patients. Although VTE is frequently asymptomatic, the incidence of symptomatic VTE (1.6%) among this series of rehabilitation inpatients with TBI still appears surprisingly low. These results have implications regarding the utility of non-invasive diagnostic screening of asymptomatic VTE and routine anticoagulant prophylaxis of high-risk patients with TBI.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Clinical Neurology