Pharmacologic venous thromboembolism prophylaxis in obese trauma patients

Brian L. Erstad, Jeffrey F. Barletta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To review the evidence cited in recent consensus documents providing recommendations for drug dosing for venous thromboembolism (VTE) prophylaxis in obese trauma patients summary: Recent publications from the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma and the American College of Surgeons provide recommendations for VTE prophylaxis in trauma. These documents address key aspects of pharmacologic prophylaxis, one of which is drug dosing in obesity. Both documents provide recommendations for obese patients, but they were not formulated using Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation methodology, which has become the standard approach for guideline development. We reviewed and critiqued the literature cited in recently published consensus documents along with identifying additional studies retrieved from a PubMed search pertaining to drug dosing for VTE prophylaxis in obesity. The overall body of evidence was reviewed, and caveats for application in the clinical setting are provided. Dosing strategies for obese trauma patients are largely extrapolated from studies conducted in nonobese patients. Studies evaluating clinical outcomes are limited as most rely on anti–factor Xa concentrations versus VTE occurrence. Conclusion: The strength of the evidence surrounding dosing recommendations for VTE prophylaxis in obese trauma patients is low. Further research efforts should be directed towards this subset of trauma patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)258-266
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Health-System Pharmacy
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2023


  • enoxaparin
  • obesity
  • prophylaxis
  • trauma
  • venous thromboembolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmacology
  • Health Policy

Cite this