Risk of postoperative hemorrhage after intracranial surgery after early nadroparin administration: results of a prospective study.
OBJECTIVE: Early postoperative pharmacological prophylaxis of deep vein thrombosis after intracranial surgery is still a matter of debate because of concerns regarding the formation of postoperative hematoma. The objective of this study was to prospectively analyze the rate of postoperative hemorrhage during a 3-year period of early postoperative administration of the low molecular weight heparin nadroparin (Fraxiparin) plus compression stockings in a large cohort of patients undergoing intracranial surgery. METHODS: A total of 2823 intracranial neurosurgical procedures, performed between June 1999 and 2002, were studied. Of these operations, 1319 (46.7%) were major intracranial surgical procedures (Group 1). Group 2 comprised 1504 operations (53.3%) considered to be minor surgical procedures (e.g., shunt procedures, biopsies). All patients except those with transnasal transsphenoidal removal of pituitary tumors underwent early postoperative imaging (computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging) to determine postoperative hemorrhage. All significant postoperative hematomas (defined as those requiring surgical evacuation because of relevant space occupation and/or neurological deterioration) were treated surgically. Prophylaxis of venous thromboembolic events included early (<24 h) postoperative administration of 0.3 ml nadroparin subcutaneously plus intra- and postoperative compression stockings until discharge. RESULTS: Forty-three major postoperative hemorrhages (1.5%) were observed after 2823 intracranial procedures (95% confidence interval, 1.1-2.05). Forty-two (3.2%) of 1319 postoperative hematomas occurred in patients undergoing major intracranial procedures (Group 1). There was only 1 (0.07%) significant hemorrhage after 1504 minor intracranial procedures (Group 2). A subgroup analysis of patients who needed preoperative anticoagulation because of medical comorbidity did not reveal an increased frequency of postoperative hematoma when anticoagulation was stopped 24 hours before surgery P = 0.1, chi(2) test; 95% confidence interval, 0.89-3.0). CONCLUSION: This report describes the largest prospective study conducted to date to determine the hemorrhage rate after early postoperative anticoagulation. The results support the concept of postoperative pharmacological thromboembolic prophylaxis in patients undergoing intracranial surgery.