Implementation of a Prophylactic Anticoagulation Guideline for Patients with Traumatic Brain Injury

Christopher J. Tignanelli, Jonathan Gipson, Arthur Nguyen, Regina Martinez, Simon Yang, Patty L. Reicks, Cori Sybrant, Robert Roach, Melissa Thorson, Michaela A. West

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2 Scopus citations


Background: Patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) are at an increased risk of developing complications from venous thromboembolisms (VTEs [blood clots]). Benchmarking by the American College of Surgeons Trauma Quality Improvement Program identified suboptimal use of prophylactic anticoagulation in patients with TBI. We hypothesized that institutional implementation of an anticoagulation protocol would improve clinical outcomes in such patients. Methods: A new prophylactic anticoagulation protocol that incorporated education, weekly audits, and real-time adherence feedback was implemented in July 2015. The trauma registry identified patients with TBI before (PRE) and after (POST) implementation. Multivariable regression analysis with risk adjustment was used to compare use of prophylactic anticoagulation, VTE events, and mortality. Results: A total of 681 patients with TBI (368 PRE, 313 POST) were identified. After implementation of the VTE protocol, more patients received anticoagulation (PRE: 39.4%, POST: 80.5%, p < 0.001), time to initiation was shorter (PRE: 140 hours, POST: 59 hours, p < 0.001), and there were fewer VTE events (PRE: 19 [5.2%], POST: 7 [2.2%], p = 0.047). Multivariable analysis showed that POST patients were more likely to receive anticoagulation (odds ratio [OR] = 10.8, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 6.9–16.7, p < 0.001) and less likely to develop VTE (OR = 0.33, 95% CI = 0.1–1.0, p = 0.05). Conclusion: Benchmarking can assist institutions to identity potential clinically relevant areas for quality improvement in real time. Combining education and multifaceted protocol implementation can help organizations to better focus limited quality resources and counteract barriers that have hindered adoption of best practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-191
Number of pages7
JournalJoint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2020

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  • Journal Article

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