Thromboprophylaxis rates in US medical centers: success or failure?

A Amin, S Stemkowski, J Lin, G Yang
Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis: JTH 2007, 5 (8): 1610-6

BACKGROUND: As hospitalized medical patients may be at risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE), evidence-based guidelines are available to help physicians assess patients' risk for VTE, and to recommend prophylaxis options. The rate of appropriate thromboprophylaxis use in at-risk medical inpatients was assessed in accordance with the 6th American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) guidelines.

METHODS: Hospital discharge information from the Premier Perspective(trade mark) inpatient data base from January 2002 to September 2005 was used. Included patients were 40 years old or more, with a length of hospital stay of 6 days or more, and had no contraindications for anticoagulation. The appropriateness of VTE thromboprophylaxis was determined in seven groups with acute medical conditions by comparing the daily thromboprophylaxis usage, including type of thromboprophylaxis, dosage of anticoagulant and duration of thromboprophylaxis, with the ACCP recommendations.

RESULTS: A total of 196 104 discharges from 227 hospitals met the inclusion criteria. The overall VTE thromboprophylaxis rate was 61.8%, although the appropriate thromboprophylaxis rate was only 33.9%. Of the 66.1% discharged patients who did not receive appropriate thromboprophylaxis, 38.4% received no prophylaxis, 4.7% received mechanical prophylaxis only, 6.3% received an inappropriate dosage, and 16.7% received an inappropriate prophylaxis duration based on ACCP recommendations.

CONCLUSIONS: This study highlights the low rates of appropriate thromboprophylaxis in US acute-care hospitals, with two-thirds of discharged patients not receiving prophylaxis in accordance with the 6th ACCP guidelines. More effort is required to improve the use of appropriate thromboprophylaxis in accordance with the ACCP recommendations.

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