Venous thromboembolic risk and prevention in acute medical illness

K K Hampton
International Journal of Clinical Practice 2003, 57 (5): 424-7
We describe a case in which an elderly woman is hospitalised for acute medical illness and ask how this patient's risk of venous thromboembolism should be assessed and managed. Venous thromboembolism was previously regarded as a surgical problem, but occurs at least as frequently among medical patients. The risk of venous thromboembolism varies, but recent studies have provided detailed data on the risk in patients with acute medical illness, in particular those patients with acute heart failure, respiratory failure and acute infectious disease. As the evidence has accumulated, specific guidelines recommend provision of thromboprophylaxis to patients at risk. An approach to venous thromboembolic risk assessment and prevention in acutely ill medical patients is presented.

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