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Press Release Date: November 16, 2000
A new study conducted for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) by the Southern California Evidence-based Practice Center found that there is insufficient evidence to establish whether therapies used to prevent blood clots in trauma patients are better than one another or better than no therapy. The most frequently used methods for venous thromboembolism prophylaxis are sequential compression devices, pumps applied around the calf for mildly squeezing the muscle; low-dose and low-molecular weight heparin, a blood-thinning drug; and vena cava filters, devices designed to capture clots to prevent travel to the lung where they can be fatal.
Because the quantity and quality of the published evidence neither proves that there is a benefit from prophylaxis, nor does it exclude a clinically important benefit, the authors suggest directing future research at identifying the appropriate groups of trauma patients in need of venous thromboembolism prevention and evaluating the safety and efficacy of the various methods of prophylaxis for trauma patients.
The summary of Prevention of Venous Thromboembolism After Injury is available online at http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/epcsums/vtsumm.htm. Printed copies are available from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse by writing to P.O. Box 8547, Silver Spring, MD 20907, or by phoning (800) 358-9295. Copies of the full report are expected to be available in early 2001.
For more information, contact AHRQ Public Affairs (301) 427-1364: Bob Isquith, (301) 427-1539 (RIsquith@ahrq.gov).