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R. Michael Meyer, M. Benjamin Larkin, Nicholas S. Szuflita, Chris J. Neal, Jeffrey M. Tomlin, Rocco A. Armonda, Jeffrey A. Bailey and Randy S. Bell

OBJECTIVE

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is independently associated with deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE). Given the numerous studies of civilian closed-head injury, the Brain Trauma Foundation recommends venous thromboembolism chemoprophylaxis (VTC) after severe TBI. No studies have specifically examined this practice in penetrating brain injury (PBI). Therefore, the authors examined the safety and effectiveness of early VTC after PBI with respect to worsening intracranial hemorrhage and DVT or PE.

METHODS

The Kandahar Airfield neurosurgery service managed 908 consults between January 2010 and March 2013. Eighty of these were US active duty members with PBI, 13 of whom were excluded from analysis because they presented with frankly nonsurvivable CNS injury or they died during initial resuscitation. This is a retrospective analysis of the remaining 67 patients.

RESULTS

Thirty-two patients received early VTC and 35 did not. Mean time to the first dose was 24 hours. Fifty-two patients had blast-related PBI and 15 had gunshot wounds (GSWs) to the head. The incidence of worsened intracranial hemorrhage was 16% after early VTC and 17% when it was not given, with the relative risk approaching 1 (RR = 0.91). The incidence of DVT or PE was 12% after early VTC and 17% when it was not given (RR = 0.73), though this difference was not statistically significant.

CONCLUSIONS

Early VTC was safe with regard to the progression of intracranial hemorrhage in this cohort of combat-related PBI patients. Data in this study suggest that this intervention may have been effective for the prevention of DVT or PE but not statistically significantly so. More research is needed to clarify the safety and efficacy of this practice.

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David H. Shin, Kristopher G. Hooten, Brian D. Sindelar, Brian M. Corliss, William R. Y. Carlton Jr., Christopher P. Carroll, Jeffrey M. Tomlin and W. Christopher Fox

Military neurosurgery has played an integral role in the development and innovation of neurosurgery and neurocritical care in treating battlefield injuries. It is of paramount importance to continue to train and prepare the next generation of military neurosurgeons. For the Army, this is currently primarily achieved through the military neurosurgery residency at the National Capital Consortium and through full-time out-service positions at the Veterans Affairs–Department of Defense partnerships with the University of Florida, the University of Texas–San Antonio, and Baylor University. The authors describe the application process for military neurosurgery residency and highlight the training imparted to residents in a busy academic and level I trauma center at the University of Florida, with a focus on how case variety and volume at this particular civilian-partnered institution produces neurosurgeons who are prepared for the complexities of the battlefield. Further emphasis is also placed on collaboration for research as well as continuing education to maintain the skills of nondeployed neurosurgeons. With ongoing uncertainty regarding future conflict, it is critical to preserve and expand these civilian-military partnerships to maintain a standard level of readiness in order to face the unknown with the confidence befitting a military neurosurgeon.