Management of heterotopic ossification and venous thromboembolism following acquired brain injury
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OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effectiveness of interventional strategies for the common complications of heterotopic ossification (HO) and venous thromboembolism (VTE) following acquired brain injury (ABI). METHODS AND MAIN OUTCOMES: A systematic review of the literature from 1980-2005 was conducted focusing on interventions for HO and VTE in the ABI population. Nineteen studies examining a variety of treatment approaches were evaluated. RESULTS: The majority of interventions are supported by limited evidence, defined as an absence of randomized controlled trials (RCTs). All of the treatment approaches for HO are supported with limited evidence. For VTE, there is moderate evidence, defined as at least one positive RCT, indicating that low-molecular-weight heparin is more effective than low-dose unfractionated heparin in preventing VTE, low-molecular-weight heparin is as effective and safe as unfractionated heparin for the prevention of pulmonary thromboembolism, low-molecular-weight heparin combined with compression stockings is more effective than compression stockings alone for the prevention of VTE and intermittent pneumatic compression devices are as effective as low-molecular-weight heparin for the prevention of VTE. CONCLUSIONS: There are a variety of intervention and prophylactic strategies that have been postulated to treat and reduce the incidence of these complications, with the goal of improving rehabilitation outcomes. It is therefore important to investigate the efficacy of these treatment strategies to provide guidance for clinical practice based on the best available evidence.
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