Venous thromboembolic events in patients undergoing craniotomy for tumor resection: incidence, predictors, and review of literature

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OBJECTIVE

The authors sought to investigate the incidence and predictors of venous thromboembolic events (VTEs) after craniotomy for tumor resection, which are not well established, and the efficacy of and risks associated with VTE chemoprophylaxis, which remains controversial.

METHODS

The authors investigated the incidence of VTEs in a consecutive series of patients presenting to the authors’ institution for resection of an intracranial lesion between 2012 and 2017. Information on patient and tumor characteristics was collected and independent predictors of VTEs were determined using stepwise multivariate logistic regression analysis. Review of the literature was performed by searching MEDLINE using the keywords “venous thromboembolism,” “deep venous thrombosis,” “pulmonary embolism,” “craniotomy,” and “brain neoplasms.”

RESULTS

There were 1622 patients included for analysis. A small majority of patients were female (52.6%) and the mean age of the cohort was 52.9 years (SD 15.8 years). A majority of intracranial lesions were intraaxial (59.3%). The incidence of VTEs was 3.0% and the rates of deep venous thromboses and pulmonary emboli were 2.3% and 0.9%, respectively. On multivariate analysis, increasing patient age (unit OR 1.02, 95% CI 1.00–1.05; p = 0.018), history of VTE (OR 7.26, 95% CI 3.24–16.27; p < 0.001), presence of motor deficit (OR 2.64, 95% CI 1.43–4.88; p = 0.002), postoperative intracranial hemorrhage (OR 4.35, 95% CI 1.51–12.55; p < 0.001), and prolonged intubation or reintubation (OR 3.27, 95% CI 1.28–8.32; p < 0.001) were independently associated with increased odds of a VTE. There were 192 patients who received VTE chemoprophylaxis (11.8%); the mean postoperative day of chemoprophylaxis initiation was 4.6 (SD 3.8). The incidence of VTEs was higher in patients receiving chemoprophylaxis than in patients not receiving chemoprophylaxis (8.3% vs 2.2%; p < 0.001). There were 30 instances of clinically significant postoperative hemorrhage (1.9%), with only 1 hemorrhage occurring after initiation of VTE chemoprophylaxis (0.1%).

CONCLUSIONS

The study results show the incidence and predictors of VTEs after craniotomy for tumor resection in this patient population. The incidence of VTE within this cohort appears low and comparable to that observed in other institutional series, despite the lack of routine prophylactic anticoagulation in the postoperative setting.

ABBREVIATIONS DVT = deep venous thrombosis; ICH = intracranial hemorrhage; KPS = Karnofsky Performance Scale; LMWH = low-molecular-weight heparin; PE = pulmonary embolism; RCT = randomized controlled trial; VTE = venous thromboembolic event.
Article Information

Contributor Notes

Correspondence Ian F. Parney: Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. parney.ian@mayo.edu.INCLUDE WHEN CITING Published online January 4, 2019; DOI: 10.3171/2018.7.JNS181175.Disclosures The authors report no conflict of interest concerning the materials or methods used in this study or the findings specified in this paper.
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