Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

What's causing life-threatening blood clots in brain surgery patients?

Date:
September 7, 2010
Source:
Loyola University Health System
Summary:
One of the most severe complications of brain surgery is a pulmonary embolism. But a new study suggests that screening methods used to access the risk of pulmonary embolisms may fall short.

One of the most severe complications of brain surgery is a life-threatening blood clot in the lungs called a pulmonary embolism.

Related Articles


But a Loyola University Health System study published in the Journal of Neurosurgery suggests that screening methods hospitals typically use to access the risk of pulmonary embolisms may fall short.

Hospitals typically screen for blood clots in legs, which can break free, travel to the lungs and cause pulmonary embolisms. But in the Loyola study, only seven of the 22 patients who experienced pulmonary embolisms showed evidence of leg blood clots, while nine embolism patients tested negative for leg clots. A blood clot in the vein is known as a deep venous thrombosis (DVT).

"We could not demonstrate a good correlation between lower extremity DVT and pulmonary embolism in our patient population," senior author Thomas Origitano, MD, PhD and colleagues wrote. Origitano is chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery at Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine.

One of the major risks of severe complications and deaths in brain surgery patients is venous thromboembolism, which includes DVT and pulmonary embolism. Risk factors for DVTs include tumors, spinal cord injuries, head trauma, strokes, length of surgery and decreased mobility or limb movement.

The study findings suggest there may be a subset of high-risk patients who already are prone to blood clots when they are admitted to the hospital. Or perhaps pulmonary embolisms are triggered by blood clots that break free from arms rather than from legs. Blood clots in arms can be caused by patients' immobility or the use of central lines (catheters in large veins), researchers wrote.

The study also raises questions about quality assurance measures that watchdog groups use to rate hospitals. These measures typically count a hospital's combined rate of DVTs and pulmonary embolisms. But the study's findings indicate that at least among brain surgery patients, there may not be a close correlation between DVTs and pulmonary embolisms. "Are the ratings systems measuring what we really want to measure?" Origitano said.

In the study, researchers reviewed records of all 2,638 neurosurgical patients treated at Loyola between January, 2006 and December, 2008. Among a subset of 555 high-risk patients, 85 percent of the DVTs occurred within one week of surgery. Researchers found the longer the surgery, the higher the risk of DVTs. Giving patients heparin shots either 24 or 48 hours after surgery reduced the rate of DVTs from 16 percent to 9 percent -- without bleeding complications.

This findings suggest the possibility that high-risk patients "have a predilection to developing DVT regardless of the timing of administration of [heparin]," researchers wrote. "Perhaps there is a subset of neurosurgical patients who have DVT present on admission." If so, perhaps patients should be screened for DVTs before surgery as well as after surgery, researchers wrote.

Origitano and colleagues question whether looking for DVTs in the legs following surgery is sufficient for assessing the risk of pulmonary embolisms. They propose a randomized, multicenter study of brain surgery patients that would include administration of heparin before surgery and screening for DVTs in the arms and legs before and after surgery.

Co-authors of the study are first author Dr. Ahmad Khaldi, Stritch medical student Naseem Helo and Dr. Michael Schneck, a professor in the departments of Neurology and Neurological Surgery at Stritch School of Medicine.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Loyola University Health System. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Loyola University Health System. "What's causing life-threatening blood clots in brain surgery patients?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100903210411.htm>.
Loyola University Health System. (2010, September 7). What's causing life-threatening blood clots in brain surgery patients?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100903210411.htm
Loyola University Health System. "What's causing life-threatening blood clots in brain surgery patients?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100903210411.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins