Patient Care Survey: VTE Prophylaxis a Gray Area for Some Hospitalists


Six out of 7 respondents to an unscientific survey at correctly answered the question "Which patient being discharged DOES NOT require VTE prophylaxis?" while 14% of respondents answered incorrectly, according to veteran hospitalists who reviewed survey results.

Nearly 200 people responded to the survey, which provided the following answers:

• Hip/knee replacement patients;

• Hip-fracture surgery patients;

• Patients with advanced solid tumors;

• Patients with congestive heart failure; and

• Immobile or bed-bound patients.

The survey ran from June 29 to July 27 and was not limited to physicians. Sixty-six percent of respondents chose "patients with congestive heart failure" as their answer; 20% of respondents chose "patients with advanced solid tumors." Both types of discharged patients do not require VTE prophylaxis, according to the new American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) guidelines, says Joseph Ming Wah Li, MD, SFHM, FACP, past president of SHM, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and hospitalist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

"Hospitalists are familiar with the fact that patients with advanced solid tumors without additional risk factors do not need extended prophylaxis, as per the guidelines put out by ACCP," Dr. Li says. "And patients with congestive heart failure being discharged from the hospital do not need extended thromboprophylaxis, either."

As for the 14% of respondents who chose incorrectly, Gregory Maynard, MD, MSc, SFHM, health sciences professor of medicine at the University of California at San Diego, says extended prophylaxis "may not be on their radar."

"Hospitalists are still struggling to get a consistent approach to inpatient VTE prophylaxis, especially since the ACCP 9 guidelines changed methodologies and provided weaker support for prophylaxis," says Dr. Maynard, senior vice president of SHM's Center for Hospital Innovation and Improvement.

For more information, check out our "Key Clinical Question" outlining VTE prophylaxis guidelines.

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