Venous thromboembolism in children: Preliminary results of a survey of POSNA members

Sanjeev Sabharwal, Marian R. Passannante

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND:: The term venous thromboembolism (VTE) includes deep venous thrombosis of the extremity and pulmonary embolism, a potentially fatal clinical entity. Although the prevalence of VTE may be lower in children compared with adults, recent reports suggest a possible rise in this diagnosis among pediatric patients, especially in association with certain risk factors. We assessed the clinical experience and practice of members of the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America (POSNA) related to VTE among their pediatric patients. METHODS:: A 36-question online survey was sent to all 636 active POSNA members. The proportion of surgeons who had encountered at least 1 child with VTE and the respondents' practice of using thromboprophylaxis in children (<18 y old) was assessed. The relationship of responders' experience with VTE among pediatric patients with various practice characteristics was evaluated. RESULTS:: The response rate was 56% (354/636). More than half (55%) [95% confidence interval (CI), 50%-60%] of the respondents could recall at least 1 (median, 2 cases/member) pediatric patient with deep venous thrombosis and 29% (95% CI, 24%-34%) could recall ≥1 child with pulmonary embolism. Approximately one quarter (23%) (95% CI, 18%-27%) of all respondents reported never using mechanical prophylaxis and almost one half (45%) (95% CI, 40%-50%) of respondents reported never using pharmacologic prophylaxis against VTE in children. Only 16% (95% CI, 12%-20%) of the respondents had a thromboprophylaxis protocol for pediatric patients. Respondent characteristics such as being in clinical practice <5 years (P=0.01) and having a surgical volume of <100 cases/y (P=0.03) were associated with a lower likelihood of encountering a pediatric patient with VTE. CONCLUSIONS:: More than half of responding active POSNA members reported having come across at least 1 case of VTE among pediatric patients during their practice. The routine use of VTE prophylaxis for children is uncommon among pediatric orthopaedists. Further studies aimed at determining the prevalence of VTE and developing specific guidelines for prophylaxis among pediatric patients seeking orthopaedic care are warranted. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:: IV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)852-856
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Pediatric Orthopaedics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


  • Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America
  • children
  • deep venous thrombosis
  • pulmonary embolism
  • survey
  • venous thromboembolism


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