The insidious hazard of hospitalisation: venous thromboembolism
Symptomatic venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a leading cause of death after admission to hospital. Recognition of when to act before and after patients are admitted to hospital with VTE will help prevent mortality and morbidity.
- Symptomatic venous thromboembolism (VTE) is estimated to be responsible for 7% of all hospital deaths and more than 15, 000 hospitalisations in Australia annually.
- Long-term sequelae of VTE often seen in general practice are pernicious, with significant numbers of patients experiencing the post-thrombotic syndrome and many being debilitated with chronic venous ulceration.
- In hospital, VTE risk assessment is often not undertaken and only 60% of patients receive appropriate VTE prophylaxis.
- Two main types of VTE prophylaxis have been shown to be effective: pharmaceutical agents and mechanical devices.
- VTE prophylaxis guidelines are available to assist with VTE risk assessment and to tailor appropriate treatment and duration of treatment to the patient’s level of VTE risk.
- Knowledge of the current VTE guidelines will help GPs to facilitate community-based VTE prophylaxis and, for those with hospital-admitting rights, to care for their hospitalised patients.