CICM SAQ 2010.1 Q10

Question

A 30 year old man has been admitted to hospital with severe multiple injuries following a motor vehicle accident.

On day 2, his intracranial pressure has stabilised and his head CT shows scattered punctate haemorrhages with subarachnoid blood, with no mass lesion requiring evacuation. His pelvic fracture and right tibia / fibula fracture have been managed with external fixation and a left leg femoral fracture has undergone open reduction and internal fixation.

He has been in good health, but had a DVT 3 years ago and is not on any regular medication.

Outline your approach to prophylaxis for venous thrombo-embolism in this patient.

Answer

Answer and interpretation

Risk of VTE is high based on:

  • Major trauma with pelvic and lower limb injury and operative intervention
  • Possibility of a pro-thrombotic disorder

Therapy also has potential risks:

  • Risk of intracranial haematoma expansion with unfractionated or LMW heparin

Management options:

  • Quantify potential pro-thrombotic disorder: ancillary history, previous
  • Investigations, etc
  • Unilateral mechanical prophylaxis
  • Discuss timing of pharmacological prophylaxis
  • Clinical and imaging surveillance
  • IVC filter
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Chris is an Intensivist and ECMO specialist at the Alfred ICU in Melbourne. He is also the Innovation Lead for the Australian Centre for Health Innovation at Alfred Health and Clinical Adjunct Associate Professor at Monash University. He is a co-founder of the Australia and New Zealand Clinician Educator Network (ANZCEN) and is the Lead for the ANZCEN Clinician Educator Incubator programme. He is on the Board of Directors for the Intensive Care Foundation and is a First Part Examiner for the College of Intensive Care Medicine. He is an internationally recognised Clinician Educator with a passion for helping clinicians learn and for improving the clinical performance of individuals and collectives.

After finishing his medical degree at the University of Auckland, he continued post-graduate training in New Zealand as well as Australia’s Northern Territory, Perth and Melbourne. He has completed fellowship training in both intensive care medicine and emergency medicine, as well as post-graduate training in biochemistry, clinical toxicology, clinical epidemiology, and health professional education.

He is actively involved in in using translational simulation to improve patient care and the design of processes and systems at Alfred Health. He coordinates the Alfred ICU’s education and simulation programmes and runs the unit’s education website, INTENSIVE.  He created the ‘Critically Ill Airway’ course and teaches on numerous courses around the world. He is one of the founders of the FOAM movement (Free Open-Access Medical education) and is co-creator of litfl.com, the RAGE podcast, the Resuscitology course, and the SMACC conference.

His one great achievement is being the father of two amazing children.

On Twitter, he is @precordialthump.

| INTENSIVE | RAGE | Resuscitology | SMACC

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