VTE in Immobilized Patients

This section covers the treatment of VTE in immobilized patients

  • Immobilization, whether within a hospital and/or critical care department or out of hospital, increases the risk of VTE
  • Even in healthy individuals, lack of mobility can lead to venous stasis and VTE (e.g. long-distance air travel)
  • Hospitalized patients often have multiple risk factors for VTE, and these are generally cumulative

A VTE risk assessment should be undertaken for all patients on hospital admission and this should be repeated whenever a significant change occurs in a patient’s clinical status. VTE is often associated with recent trauma or surgery, 50–70% of symptomatic cases, and the majority of cases of fatal PE occur in medical (non-surgical, non-trauma) patients.
Prospective studies show that hospitalized medical patients at risk of VTE who do not receive thromboprophylaxis develop distal DVT in the calf in 10–15% of cases. The same studies revealed an incidence of proximal DVT of 2–5% and of PE of 0.3–1.5%.

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