Background Altered coagulation function after trauma can contribute to development of venous thromboembolism (VTE). Severe trauma impairs coagulation function, but the trajectory for recovery is not known. We hypothesized that enhanced, early recovery of coagulation function increases VTE risk in severely injured trauma patients. Study Design Secondary analysis was performed on data from the Pragmatic Randomized Optimal Platelet and Plasma Ratio (PROPPR) trial, excluding patients who died within 24 hours or were on pre-injury anticoagulants. Patient characteristics, adverse outcomes, and parameters of platelet function and coagulation (thromboelastography) were compared from admission to 72 hours between VTE (n = 83) and non-VTE (n = 475) patients. A p value < 0.05 indicates significance. Results Despite similar patient demographics, VTE patients exhibited hypercoagulable thromboelastography parameters and enhanced platelet function at admission (p < 0.05). Both groups exhibited hypocoagulable thromboelastography parameters, platelet dysfunction, and suppressed clot lysis (low clot lysis at 30 minutes) 2 hours after admission (p < 0.05). The VTE patients exhibited delayed coagulation recovery (a significant change compared with 2 hours) of K-value (48 vs 24 hours), α-angle (no recovery), maximum amplitude (24 vs 12 hours), and clot lysis at 30 minutes (48 vs 12 hours). Platelet function recovery mediated by arachidonic acid (72 vs 4 hours), ADP (72 vs 12 hours), and collagen (48 vs 12 hours) was delayed in VTE patients. The VTE patients had lower mortality (4% vs 13%; p < 0.05), but fewer hospital-free days (0 days [interquartile range 0 to 8 days] vs 10 days [interquartile range 0 to 20 days]; p < 0.05) and higher complication rates (p < 0.05). Conclusions Recovery from platelet dysfunction and coagulopathy after severe trauma were delayed in VTE patients. Suppressed clot lysis and compensatory mechanisms associated with altered coagulation that can potentiate VTE formation require additional investigation.
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