The benefit of routine chemical prophylaxis use for venous thromboembolism (VTE) prevention in skull base surgery is controversial. Chemical prophylaxis can prevent undue morbidity and mortality, however there are risks for hemorrhagic complications.Study Design:
A retrospective chart review of patients who underwent surgery for vestibular schwannoma from 2011 to 2016 was performed. Patients were divided by receipt of chemical VTE prophylaxis. Number of VTEs and hemorrhagic complications (intracranial hemorrhage, abdominal hematoma, and postauricular hematoma) were recorded.Results:
One hundred twenty-six patients were identified, 55 received chemical prophylaxis, and 71 did not. All the patients received mechanical prophylaxis. Two patients developed a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and one patient developed a pulmonary embolism (PE). All patients who developed a DVT or PE received chemical prophylaxis. There was no difference in DVT (p = 0.1886) or PE (p = 0.4365) between those who received chemical prophylaxis and those who did not. Five patients developed a hemorrhagic complication, two intracranial hemorrhage, three abdominal hematoma, and zero postauricular hematoma. All five patients with a complication received chemical prophylaxis (p = 0.00142). The relative risk of a hemorrhagic complication was 14.14 (95% CI = 0.7987–250.4307; p = 0.0778).Conclusion:
There was a significant difference between the number of hemorrhagic complications but not between numbers of DVT or PE. Mechanical and chemical prophylaxis may lower the risk of VTE but in our series, hemorrhagic complications were observed. These measures should be used selectively in conjunction with early ambulation.