Efficacy of deep venous thrombosis prophylaxis in the medical intensive care unit

Hassan Khouli, Janet Shapiro, Vinh Philip Pham, Asghar Arfaei, Olanrewaju Esan, Raymonde Jean, Peter Homel
Journal of Intensive Care Medicine 2006, 21 (6): 352-8
The purpose of this study was to determine the incidence of deep venous thrombosis in medical intensive care unit patients receiving deep venous thrombosis prophylaxis. This was a prospective cohort study of 141 consecutive adult patients anticipated to remain in the medical intensive care unit for >48 hours. Deep venous thrombosis prophylaxis was provided using subcutaneous unfractionated heparin or a sequential compression device according to risk-stratified protocol. Compression ultrasound was performed. Fourteen patients (9.9%) developed deep venous thrombosis on follow-up studies. Incidence of deep venous thrombosis was 7.9% per person year (95% confidence interval, 4.8-12.8). Two of 14 developed pulmonary embolism. Eight patients required full anticoagulation with intravenous heparin or coumadin. In-hospital mortality was similar in both groups. Patients with deep venous thrombosis had a statistically higher risk of pulmonary embolism: 14.2% (95% confidence interval, 2.0-43.0) versus 0.0% (95% confidence interval, 0-3; P = .009). Incidence of deep venous thrombosis is high in medical intensive care unit patients receiving standard prophylaxis. Adherence to strict deep venous thrombosis prophylaxis protocol and exploration of other prophylaxis regimens should be pursued.

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