S. Brambilla, C. Ruosi, G. A. La Maida, S. Caserta

November 2003, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 1 - 8 Review Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-003-0538-7

First Online: 11 November 2003

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and its most feared complication, pulmonary embolism (PE), still have a high incidence with high risk for patients’ health. Proven prophylactic measures are available but are generally underused, and DVT is still considered the most common cause of preventable death among hospitalized patients. The rationale for prophylaxis of venous thromboembolism is based on the clinically silent nature of the disease, the relatively high prevalence among hospitalized patients and the potentially tragic consequences of a missed diagnosis. During the last 15–20 years, spine surgery has changed radically, developing into a well-defined area of specialist surgery, and some attention is now being given to DVT events in spine surgery. The incidence of DVT during spine surgery is not documented in the literature, because only case reports or retrospective studies are reported. It would therefore be very helpful to initiate a multicenter study in order to understand this problem better and to develop, if possible, some guidelines on prophylactic measures in spine surgery. In doing so, we need to consider each patient’s pattern, any risk factors and every kind of surgical technique related to DVT, in order to improve the outcome of the patient and to reduce any medicolegal problems that could arise from a thrombotic complication or an epidural hematoma, with its high potential for irreversible consequences.

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