Mechanical plus pharmacological prophylaxis for deep vein thrombosis in acute spinal cord injury

G J Merli, S Crabbe, L Doyle, J F Ditunno, G J Herbision
Paraplegia 1992, 30 (8): 558-62
This pilot study assessed the effectiveness of external pneumatic compression (EPC) with gradient elastic stockings (GES) and low dose heparin (LDH) in the prevention of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in acute spinal cord injured (SCI) patients in the first 14 days following injury. Twenty-one consecutive patients within 48 hrs of injury with acute C2 through T12 motor complete or nonfunctional motor incomplete spinal cord lesions were enrolled. 125 I fibrinogen scanning was performed daily. A positive scan was confirmed by venography. Thrombosis was demonstrated in 1/19 patients. A control group from a previous study confirmed thrombosis in 6/17 patients (p = 0.04). Comparison of extent of thrombosis demonstrated a reduction in the treated group (p = 0.02). This pilot study demonstrates that EPC with GES plus LDH may be an effective prophylactic regimen in these patients.

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