Predictors of Venous Thromboembolism After Nonemergent Craniotomy: A Nationwide Readmission Database Analysis

Ian A. Buchanan, Michelle Lin, Daniel A. Donoho, Arati Patel, Li Ding, Arun P. Amar, Steven L. Giannotta, William J. Mack, Frank Attenello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is responsible for many hospital readmissions each year, particularly among postsurgical cohorts. Because early and indiscriminate VTE prophylaxis carries catastrophic consequences in postcraniotomy cohorts, identifying factors associated with a high risk for thromboembolic complications is important for guiding postoperative management. Objective: To determine VTE incidence in patients undergoing nonemergent craniotomy and to evaluate for factors that predict 30-day and 90-day readmission with VTE. Methods: The 2010–2014 cohorts of the Nationwide Readmissions Database were used to generate a large heterogeneous craniotomy sample. Results: There were 89,450 nonemergent craniotomies that met inclusion criteria. Within 30 days, 1513 patients (1.69%) were readmitted with VTE diagnoses; among them, 678 (44.8%) had a diagnosis of deep vein thrombosis alone, 450 (29.7%) had pulmonary embolism alone, and 385 (25.4%) had both. The corresponding 30-day deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism incidences were 1.19% and 0.93%, respectively. In multivariate analysis, several factors were significantly associated with VTE readmission, namely, craniotomy for tumor, corticosteroids, advanced age, greater length of stay, and discharge to institutional care. Conclusions: Craniotomies for tumor, corticosteroids, advanced age, prolonged length of stay, and discharge to institutional care are significant predictors of VTE readmission. The implication of steroids, coupled with their ubiquity in neurosurgery, makes them a potentially modifiable risk factor and a prime target for VTE reduction in craniotomy cohorts. Furthermore, the fact that dose is proportional to VTE risk in the literature suggests that careful consideration should be given toward decreasing regimens in situations in which use of a lower dose might prove equally sufficient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e1102-e1110
JournalWorld neurosurgery
StatePublished - Feb 2019


  • Adult cohort
  • Craniotomy
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Nationwide database
  • Pulmonary embolism (PE)
  • Readmission
  • Venous thromboembolism (VTE)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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