Does chemoprophylaxis prevent venous thromboembolism in burns patients? Findings from the Burns Registry of Australia and New Zealand


Introduction: While venous thromboembolism (VTE) events are a significant risk for all hospitalised patients, patients with burn injuries are considered to be at a particularly high risk of VTE. This study aimed to quantify the variation in prevalence of VTE prophylaxis use in patients in Australian and New Zealand burns units and whether variation impacts on in-hospital mortality following burn injury.

Methods: Data from adult (≥ 16 years) admissions collected from 12 adult burn centres across Australia and New Zealand between July 2016 and December 2018 were extracted from the Burns Registry of Australia and New Zealand. Admissions were stratified based on whether or not they received VTE prophylaxis.

Results: There were 5,848 admissions over the study period. Ninety-one percent of admissions had a valid response to the VTE prophylaxis data item; 64% of which received some form of VTE prophylaxis. Use of VTE chemoprophylaxis varied between specialist burns units, ranging from 5 to 90%. Mortality following burn injury was low (< 1%), but there was no difference in the proportion of deaths in patients that did and did not receive VTE prophylaxis.

Discussion & Conclusion: Despite widespread variation in the use of VTE prophylaxis in Australian and New Zealand burns units, the in-hospital death rate was similar between VTE prophylaxis groups. Further investigation and analysis, including examining non-fatal VTE events, is required.

Hobart, Australia