Compliance with a perinatal prophylaxis policy for prevention of venous thromboembolism after caesarean section

T Lee-Ann Hawkins, Ian R Lange, Paul S Gibson
Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada: JOGC 2008, 30 (12): 1110-1117

OBJECTIVE: To assess physician compliance, before and after a quality improvement intervention, with a regional policy on postpartum thromboprophylaxis following Caesarean section (CS), and to compare clinical outcomes (reduction of venous thromboembolism or increase in postpartum bleeding) between groups.

METHODS: We performed a retrospective chart review of deliveries by CS, 404 prior to and 451 subsequent to a quality improvement intervention. All subjects were classified as being at either moderate or high risk for venous thromboembolism based on a risk-factor assessment, and warranted postpartum thromboprophylaxis according to the regional policy. Data regarding thromboembolism risk factors, postpartum thromboprophylaxis received, and clinical outcomes were recorded.

RESULTS: Initial compliance with the regional policy was poor, but improved following the intervention. The use of intermittent pneumatic compression devices increased from 32% to 84% (P < 0.001), use of anticoagulation increased from 6.2% to 46% (P < 0.001), and full compliance with the policy increased from 1.7% to 30% (P < 0.001). Clinical outcomes were not significantly different between the groups.

CONCLUSION: A quality improvement intervention markedly increased physician compliance with a regional policy on postpartum thromboprophylaxis among women at moderate to high risk of venous thromboembolism after CS. Adverse clinical outcomes were infrequent in this small study population.

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