Original Article

Prevention of Thromboembolism after Neurosurgery for Brain and Spinal Tumors

Authors: Teresa L. Carman MD, Andrew A. Kanner MD, Gene H. Barnett MD, Steven R. Deitcher MD


Objective: Deep venous thrombosis (DVT) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality after surgery for primary and metastatic brain tumors.

Methods: We conducted a confidential survey of American neurosurgeons interested in tumor surgery to assess DVT risk awareness and thromboprophylaxis patterns.

Results: Of the 172 respondents, 108 (63%) underestimated the DVT risk after brain tumor surgery. After operating on patients who had brain or spinal tumors, 81.4 and 78.5% of respondents, respectively, reported using DVT prophylaxis. After performing brain tumor surgery, 76.2% of respondents reported using solely mechanical methods of prophylaxis “always” or “most of the time.”

Conclusion: American neurosurgeons tend to underestimate the risk of DVT associated with brain tumor surgery and to use mechanical thromboprophylaxis despite the availability of effective pharmacologic antithrombotics. A better appreciation of the risk of thrombosis, combined with clinical studies to address safety, may enhance the use of prophylaxis and the perceived safety of antithrombotics in this setting.

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