The long-term risks of venous thromboembolism among non-operatively managed spinal fracture patients: A nationwide analysis

Mauricio Avila, Sai Krishna Bhogadi, Adam Nelson, Hamidreza Hosseinpour, Michael Ditillo, Malak Akl, Tanya Anand, Audrey L. Spencer, Louis J. Magnotti, Bellal Joseph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Long-term readmission data for venous thromboembolism (VTE) after spinal fractures is limited. We aimed to evaluate the 1-month and 6-month VTE readmission rates in non-operatively managed traumatic spinal fractures. Methods: Analysis of the 2017 NRD. Adults (≥18 years) with a primary diagnosis of spinal fracture who were managed non-operatively were included. Patients that died on index admission, were on pre-injury anticoagulants, and those with spinal cord injuries were excluded. Outcomes were rates of DVT, PE, and VTE during index admission, and at 1-month and 6-months after discharge. Multivariate regression analysis was performed to identify independent predictors of 6-month readmission with VTE. Results: 41,337 patients were identified. Mean age was 61 ± 22 years, and the median ISS was 17[9–22]. Vertebral fractures were: 11% sacrococcygeal; 29% lumbar; 19% thoracic; 20% cervical; and 21% multiple levels. During the index admission, 392(0.9%) patients developed DVT, 281(0.7%) developed PE, and 601(1.5%) VTE. Within 1-month of discharge, 177(0.4%) patients were readmitted with DVT, 142(0.3%) with PE, and 268(0.6%) with VTE. Within 6-months of discharge, 352(0.9%) patients were readmitted with DVT, 250(0.6%) with PE, and 513(1.2%) with VTE. Among those who were readmitted within 6-months with VTE, mortality was 6.7%. On multivariate analysis, older age(OR = 1.01,p < 0.01), higher ISS(OR = 1.03,p < 0.001), thoracic level of spinal fracture(OR = 1.37,p = 0.04), and discharge to skilled nursing facility, rehabilitation center, or care facility(OR = 1.73,p < 0.001) were independently associated with 6-month readmission due to VTE. Conclusions: VTE risk and associated mortality remains high for 6-months after non-operatively managed traumatic spinal fracture. Further studies regarding optimal duration and choice of thromboprophylactic agents are warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1086-1090
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2023


  • Adult trauma
  • Deep venous thrombosis
  • Long-term outcomes
  • Non-operative management
  • Spinal fracture
  • Venous thromboembolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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