Although there are alternative methods and drugs for preventing venous thromboembolism (VTE), it is not clear which modality is most suitable and efficacious for patients with severe (stable or unstable) head/spinal injures. The aim of this study was to compare intermittent pneumatic compression devices (IPC) with low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) for preventing VTE. We prospectively randomized 120 head/spinal traumatized patients for comparison of IPC with LMWH as a prophylaxis modality against VTE. Venous duplex color-flow Doppler sonography of the lower extremities was performed each week of hospitalization and 1 week after discharge. When there was a suspicion of pulmonary embolism (PE), patients were evaluated with spiral computed tomography. Patients were analyzed for demographic features, injury severity scores, associated injuries, type of head/spinal trauma, complications, transfusion, and incidence of deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and PE. Two patients (3.33%) from the IPC group and 4 patients (6.66%) from the LMWH group died, with their deaths due to PE. Nine other patients also succumbed, unrelated to PE. DVT developed in 4 patients (6.66%) in the IPC group and in 3 patients (5%) in the LMWH group. There was no statistically significant difference regarding a reduction in DVT, PE, or mortality between groups (p = 0.04, p > 0.05, p > 0.05, respectively). IPC can be used safely for prophylaxis of VTE in head/spinal trauma patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas