Risk stratification and utilisation of thrombo-embolism prophylaxis in a medical-surgical ICU: a hospital-based study

J Indian Med Assoc. 2007 Sep;105(9):536, 538, 540 passim.


To assess the risk for venous thrombo-embolism (VTE) and the utilisation of VTE prophylaxis in an open medical-surgical intensive care unit (ICU), patients were admitted and enrolled to the ICU at a multispecialty, tertiary care teaching hospital in Mumbai, for an observational study during a 3-month period. Risk factors for VTE and methods of VTE prophylaxis used were noted. Risk stratification was done, and the consultants attending the ICUs filled a questionnaire about VTE awareness, preferences and usage of VTE prophylaxis methods and reasons for not using thromboprophylaxis. Of 580 admissions, 488 were included in the study. As per the risk stratification, thromboprophylaxis was indicated in 466 (95%). The study group had an average VTE risk of 5.74, with a mean risk of 6.48 in medical patients and 5.0 in surgical patients. The most common risk factors in medical patients were bed rest >72 hours (56%), age >60 years (49.6%) and age 40-60 years (38.4%). Among surgical patients, the most common risk factors were major surgery (80.25%), central venous access (59.24%) and age 40-60 years (46.6%). Overall, VTE prophylaxis was used in 229 patients (47%), with 127 (55%) medical and 102 (45%) surgical patients. The most common methods of VTE prophylaxis used were elastic stockings (24.2%), low molecular weight heparin (15%) and low molecular weight heparin and stockings both (9.6%). Fear of bleeding was the commonest reason cited for the underutilisation of VTE prophylaxis. Almost half of all high-risk patients admitted to the ICU didn't receive any thromboprophylaxis. Consistent practice patterns of ICUs, and continuing medical education programmes addressing VTE prophylaxis will help improve the usage of VTE prophylaxis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Epidemiologic Studies
  • Female
  • Fibrinolytic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • India
  • Intensive Care Units*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Risk Assessment*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Venous Thromboembolism / prevention & control*
  • Venous Thrombosis / prevention & control*


  • Fibrinolytic Agents