The efficacy and safety of physiotherapeutic prophylaxis for venous thromboembolism in critically ill patients with heparin contraindication remains unclear. In the present study it was hypothesized that physiotherapy prophylaxis with intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) would be safe and effective for patients unable to receive low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH). In addition, this study investigated whether a combined therapy of IPC with LMWH would be more effective for the prophylaxis of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in critical patients. A total of 500 patients were divided into four groups according to the prophylaxis of DVT. The IPC group consisted of 95 patients with heparin contraindication that received IPC treatment; the LMWH group consisted of 185 patients that received an LMWH injection; the LMWH + IPC group consisted of 75 patients that received IPC treatment and LMWH injection; and the control group consisted of 145 patients that received no IPC treatment or injection of LMWH. Each patient was evaluated clinically for development of DVT and the diagnosis was confirmed by Doppler study. Venous thromboembolism was a common complication among the trauma patients with severe injuries. Patients responded positively to the treatment used in the intervention groups. Patients exhibited an improved response to LMWH + ICP compared with IPC or LMWH alone, while no significant difference was detected between the IPC and LMWH groups. These results were applicable to patients that had a Wells score of ≥3; however, no significant differences in DVT incidence were observed among the patients who had a Wells score of <3. In this observational study, LMWH + ICP appeared to be more effective than either treatment alone in treating critically ill trauma patients with severe injuries that are at high risk for VTE and bleeding simultaneously.
KEYWORDS: deep venous thrombosis; intermittent pneumatic compression; low-molecular-weight heparin
Crit Care. 2015 Aug 18;19:287. doi: 10.1186/s13054-015-1003-9.
Venous thromboembolism (VTE), including pulmonary embolism (PE) and deep venous thrombosis (DVT), is a common and severe complication ofcritical illness. Although well documented in the general population, the prevalence of PE is less known in the ICU, where it is more difficult to diagnose and to treat. Critically ill patients are at high risk of VTE because they combine both general risk factors together with specific ICU risk factors of VTE, like sedation, immobilization, vasopressors or central venous catheter. Compression ultrasonography and computed tomography (CT) scan are the primary tools to diagnose DVT and PE, respectively, in the ICU. CT scan, as well as transesophageal echography, are good for evaluating the severity of PE. Thromboprophylaxis is needed in all ICU patients, mainly with low molecular weight heparin, such as fragmine, which can be used even in cases of non-severe renal failure. Mechanical thromboprophylaxis has to be used if anticoagulation is not possible. Nevertheless, VTE can occur despite well-conducted thromboprophylaxis.