Thromboembolic Events After Traumatic Vertebral Fractures: An Analysis of 190,192 Patients

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Abstract

Study Design.

Retrospective cohort study

Objective.

To determine the rate of venous thromboembolism event (VTE) and risk factors for their occurrence in patients with vertebral fractures.

Summary of Background Data.

Deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism (VTE) events are a significant source of potentially preventable morbidity and mortality in trauma patients. In patients with traumatic vertebral fractures, a common high-energy injury sometimes resulting in spinal cord injury, there is debate about what factors may be associated with such VTEs.

Methods.

All patients with vertebral fractures in the American College of Surgeons National Trauma Data Bank Research Data Set (NTDB RDS) from years 2011 and 2012 were identified. Multivariate logistic regression was used to determine factors associated with the occurrence of VTE while considering patient factors, injury characteristics, and hospital course.

Results.

A total of 190,192 vertebral fractures patients were identified. The overall rate of VTE was 2.5%. In multivariate analysis, longer inpatient length of stay was most associated with increased VTEs with an odds ratio (OR) of up to 96.60 (95% CI: 77.67 – 129.13) for length of stay longer than 28 days (compared to 0 – 3 days). Additional risk factors in order of decreasing odds ratios were older age (OR of up to 1.65 [95% CI: 1.45 – 1.87] for patients age 70 – 79 years [compared to age 18 – 29 years]), complete spinal cord injuries (OR: 1.49 [95% CI: 1.31 – 1.68]), cancer (OR: 1.37 [95% CI: 1.25 – 1.50]), and obesity (OR: 1.32 [95% CI: 1.18 – 1.48]). Multiple associated non-spinal injuries were also associated with increased rates of VTE.

Conclusion.

While the overall rate of VTE is relatively low after vertebral fractures, longer LOS and other defined factors to lesser extents were predisposing factors. By determining patients at greatest risk, protocols to prevent such adverse outcomes can be developed and optimized.

Conclusion.

Level of Evidence: 3

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