Patient Care

Caprini Score Accurately Predicts Risk of Venous Thromboembolism in Critically Ill Surgical Patients


Clinical question: Is the Caprini risk assessment model (RAM) a valid tool to predict venous thromboembolism (VTE) risk in critically ill surgical patients?

Background: VTE is a major source of morbidity and mortality among hospitalized patients; prevention is critical to reduce morbidity and cut healthcare costs. Risk assessment is important to determine thromboprophylaxis, yet data are lacking regarding an appropriate tool for risk stratification in the critically ill.

Study design: Retrospective cohort.

Setting: University of Michigan Health System; 20-bed surgical ICU at an academic hospital.

Synopsis: This study included 4,844 surgical ICU patients. Primary outcome was VTE during the patient’s hospital admission. A retrospective risk scoring method based on the 2005 Caprini RAM was used to calculate the risk for all patients at the time of ICU admission. Patients were divided into low (Caprini score 0–2), moderate, high, highest, and super-high (Caprini score > 8) risk levels. The incidence of VTE increased in linear fashion with increasing Caprini score.

This study was limited to one academic medical center. The retrospective scoring model limits the ability to identify all patient risk factors. VTE outcomes were reported only for the length of hospitalization and did not include post-discharge follow-up. Replicating this study across a larger patient population and performing a prospective study with follow-up after discharge would address these limitations.

Bottom line: The Caprini risk assessment model is a valid instrument to assess VTE risk in critically ill surgical patients.

Citation: Obi AT, Pannucci CJ, Nackashi A, et al. Validation of the Caprini venous thromboembolism risk assessment model in critically ill surgical patients. JAMA Surg. 2015;150(10):941-948.

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