Evaluation of Appropriate Venous Thromboembolism Prophylaxis in Patients With Orthopaedic Trauma With Symptom-Driven Vascular and Radiographic Studies

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To evaluate venous thromboembolism (VTE) prophylaxis adherence and effectiveness in orthopaedic trauma patients who had vascular or radiographic studies showing deep vein thromboses or pulmonary emboli.


Retrospective review.


A level I trauma center that independently services a 5-state region.


Four hundred seventy-six patients with orthopaedic trauma who underwent operative treatments for orthopaedic injuries and had symptom-driven diagnostic VTE studies.


The medical records of patients treated surgically between July 2010 and March 2013 were interrogated using a technical tool that electronically captures thrombotic event data from vascular and radiologic imaging studies by natural language processing.

Main Outcome Measurements:

Patients were evaluated for hospital guideline–directed VTE prophylaxis adherence with mechanical or chemical prophylaxis. Patient demographics, associated injuries, mechanism of injury, and symptoms that led to imaging for a VTE were also assessed.


Of the 476 orthopaedic patients who met inclusion criteria, 100 (mean age 52.3 median 52, SD 18.3, 70% men) had positive VTE studies. Three hundred seventy-six (age 47.3, SD 17.3, 69% men) had negative VTE studies. Of the 100 patients with VTE, 63 deep vein thromboses, and 49 pulmonary emboli were found. Eight-five percent of all patients met hospital guideline–VTE prophylaxis standards.


The study population had better than previously reported VTE prophylaxis adherence, however, patients still developed VTEs.

Level of Evidence:

Prognostic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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