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Early Propranolol Is Associated With Lower Risk of Venous Thromboembolism After Traumatic Brain Injury.

American Surgeon 2021 October 28
BACKGROUND: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) results in an elaborate systemic cascade of secondary injury elicited in part by an intrinsic catecholamine response, which ultimately leads to changes in inflammation and coagulopathy. Attenuation of this catecholamine response with agents such as propranolol confers a survival advantage. The related impact of propranolol on venous thromboembolism (VTE) after TBI is largely unknown.

STUDY DESIGN: A single institution retrospective review was conducted of all TBI patients requiring intensive care unit (ICU) admission with an injury severity scale (ISS) ≥ 25 from January 2013 to May 2015. Patients who received at least one dose of propranolol within 24 hours of admission (PROP) were compared to patients who did not receive any doses of propranolol (NPROP) during their hospitalization.

RESULTS: Of the 131 patients analyzed, 31 (23.7%) patients received propranolol. The PROP cohort was more severely injured overall (ISS 29 vs 26.5, P = .02). While unadjusted VTE rates were similar (16.1% vs 19.0%, P = .72), the adjusted VTE rate was lower in the PROP cohort (AOR 0.20 (95% CI 0.04-0.97), adjusted P -value < .05).

CONCLUSION: Propranolol use in TBI patients who have sustained critical injuries may mitigate the risk of VTE. The mechanism by which this outcome is achieved requires further investigation.

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