Blood Clot Screening May Fall Short

MAYWOOD, Ill., Sept. 7 (UPI) — Current screening for embolisms — blood clots — may not be enough to prevent them after brain surgery, U.S. researchers say.

Researchers at The Loyola University Health System in Maywood, Ill., suggest screening for deep vein thrombosis in the legs may be failing to adequately access the risk of pulmonary embolisms.

The study, published in the Journal of Neurosurgery, finds seven of the 22 patients who experienced pulmonary embolisms showed evidence of leg DVT — and nine tested negative for leg DVT.

“We could not demonstrate a good correlation between lower extremity DVT and pulmonary embolism in our patient population,” Dr. Thomas Origitano, the senior author, said in a statement.

Origitano and colleagues reviewed records of all 2,638 neurosurgical patients treated at Loyola between January 2006 to December 2008.

Among a subset of 555 high-risk patients, 85 percent of the DVTs occurred within one week of surgery. Researchers say they 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.

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