Publication Date



Trauma Surgery & Acute Care Open


Background: Trauma patients exhibit a multifactorial hypercoagulable state and have increased risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE). Despite early and aggressive chemoprophylaxis (CP) with various heparin compounds ("standard" CP; sCP), VTE rates remain high. In high-quality studies, aspirin has been shown to decrease VTE in postoperative elective surgical and orthopedic trauma patients. We hypothesized that inhibiting platelet function with aspirin as an adjunct to sCP would reduce the risk of VTE in trauma patients.

Methods: We performed a retrospective observational study of prospectively collected data from all adult patients admitted to an American College of Surgeons Level I Trauma center from January 2012 to June 2015 to evaluate the addition of aspirin (sCP+A) to sCP regimens for VTE mitigation. Cox proportional hazard models were used to assess the potential benefit of adjunctive aspirin for symptomatic VTE incidence.

Results: 10,532 patients, median age 44 (IQR 28 to 62), 68% male, 89% blunt mechanism of injury, with a median Injury Severity Score (ISS) of 12 (IQR 9 to 19), were included in the study. 8646 (82%) of patients received only sCP, whereas 1886 (18%) patients received sCP+A. The sCP+A cohort displayed a higher median ISS compared with sCP (13 vs 11; p<0.01). The overall median time of sCP initiation was hospital day 1 (IQR 0.8 to 2) and the median day for aspirin initiation was hospital day 3 (IQR 1 to 6) for the sCP+A cohort. 353 patients (3.4%) developed symptomatic VTE. Aspirin administration was independently associated with a decreased relative hazard of VTE (HR 0.57; 95% CI 0.36 to 0.88; p=0.01). There were no increased bleeding or wound complications associated with sCP+A (point estimate 1.23, 95% CI 0.68 to 2.2, p=0.50).

Conclusion: In this large trauma cohort, adjunctive aspirin was independently associated with a significant reduction in VTE and may represent a potential strategy to safely mitigate VTE risk in trauma patients. Further prospective studies evaluating the addition of aspirin to heparinoid-based VTE chemoprophylaxis regimens should be sought.

Level of evidence: Level III/therapeutic.


Antiplatelet, Aspirin, Chemoprophylaxis, Platelet, Venous thromboembolism



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