Introduction: The objective of this study is to develop evidence-based guidelines that recommend effective, safe and cost-effective thromboprophylaxis strategies in patients with spinal cord injury (SCI). Methods: A systematic review of the literature was conducted to address key questions relating to thromboprophylaxis in SCI. Based on GRADE (Grading of Recommendation, Assessment, Development and Evaluation), a strong recommendation is worded as “we recommend,” whereas a weaker recommendation is indicated by “we suggest.” Results: Based on conclusions from the systematic review and expert panel opinion, the following recommendations were developed: (1) “We suggest that anticoagulant thromboprophylaxis be offered routinely to reduce the risk of thromboembolic events in the acute period after SCI;” (2) “We suggest that anticoagulant thromboprophylaxis, consisting of either subcutaneous low-molecular-weight heparin or fixed, low-dose unfractionated heparin (UFH) be offered to reduce the risk of thromboembolic events in the acute period after SCI. Given the potential for increased bleeding events with the use of adjusted-dose UFH, we suggest against this option;” (3) “We suggest commencing anticoagulant thromboprophylaxis within the first 72 hours after injury, if possible, in order to minimize the risk of venous thromboembolic complications during the period of acute hospitalization.” Conclusions: These guidelines should be implemented into clinical practice in patients with SCI to promote standardization of care, decrease heterogeneity of management strategies and encourage clinicians to make evidence-informed decisions.
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