Optimizing prevention of hospital-acquired venous thromboembolism (VTE): prospective validation of a VTE risk assessment model

J Hosp Med. 2010 Jan;5(1):10-8. doi: 10.1002/jhm.562.


Background: Hospital-acquired (HA) venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a common source of morbidity/mortality. Prophylactic measures are underutilized. Available risk assessment models/protocols are not prospectively validated.

Objectives: Improve VTE prophylaxis, reduce HA VTE, and prospectively validate a VTE risk-assessment model.

Design: Observational design.

Setting: Academic medical center.

Patients: Adult inpatients on medical/surgical services.

Interventions: A simple VTE risk assessment linked to a menu of preferred VTE prophylaxis methods, embedded in order sets. Education, audit/feedback, and concurrent identification of nonadherence.

Measurements: Randomly sampled inpatient audits determined the percent of patients with "adequate" VTE prevention. HA VTE cases were identified concurrently via digital imaging system. Interobserver agreement for VTE risk level and judgment of adequate prophylaxis were calculated from 150 random audits.

Results: Interobserver agreement with 5 observers was high (kappa score for VTE risk level = 0.81, and for judgment of "adequate" prophylaxis = 0.90). The percent of patients on adequate prophylaxis improved each of the 3 years (58%, 78%, and 93%; P < 0.001) and reached 98% in the last 6 months of 2007; 361 cases of HA VTE occurred over 3 years. Significant reductions for the risk of HA VTE (risk ratio [RR] = 0.69; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.47-0.79) and preventable HA VTE (RR = 0.14; 95% CI = 0.06-0.31) occurred. We detected no increase in heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) or prophylaxis-related bleeding using administrative data/chart review.

Conclusions: We prospectively validated a VTE risk-assessment/prevention protocol by demonstrating ease of use, good interobserver agreement, and effectiveness. Improved VTE prophylaxis resulted in a substantial reduction in HA VTE.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inpatients*
  • Male
  • Medical Order Entry Systems
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Observation
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Venous Thromboembolism / prevention & control*
  • Young Adult