Sometimes less is more.
Fighting for your life in Accident and Emergency, the last thing you want is an extra invasive procedure, especially in the groin.
So researchers at Murdoch University, The University of Queensland and The University of Western Australia decided to test a common method of treatment to see how well it actually works.
The results were surprising.
Trauma centres around the world routinely use a tiny, umbrella-like device to protect severely injured patients against the threat of blood clots in the legs travelling to the lungs.
Known as an inferior vena cava filter, it sits in the abdomen where it prevents clots travelling from the legs.
It sounds innocuous enough but there’s nothing inferior about the way it’s inserted – through a vein in the groin.
So, is it necessary?
According to the study of trauma patients in Perth and Brisbane, in most cases, no.
The results showed a lack of significant benefits from insertion of the device in the initial days following injury.
While it may help some patients at high risk of bleeding for at least a week after their injury, the study concluded most people would not need it.
WA’s Chief Medical Officer Michael Levitt says the Murdoch team deserves praise for increasing the precision of trauma care.
“This is an important study that will simplify the treatment of trauma patients around the world by guiding clinicians on the specific circumstances in which these devices should and should not be used,” Dr Levitt says.
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