Does using the WHO surgical checklist improve compliance to venous thromboembolism prophylaxis guidelines?

Surgeon. 2011 Dec;9(6):309-11. doi: 10.1016/j.surge.2010.11.024. Epub 2010 Dec 24.


Background: Using the World Health Organisation (WHO) surgical checklist has been shown to improve the safety of patients undergoing surgery. Its effect on the compliance to venous thromboembolism (VTE) guidelines has not been established before. Our objective was to assess if using the WHO checklist improved compliance to VTE prophylaxis guidelines.

Methods: Compliance to NICE VTE guidelines were prospectively assessed in all general surgery patients over two separate audit periods, before and after 6 months of the routine use of the WHO checklist. Correct completion of the checklist was verified.

Results: 370 patients (173 [47%] male, 197 [53%] female, mean age 61.6 yrs). Non compliance to NICE VTE guidelines was reduced form 16/233 (6.9%) to 3/137 (2.1%) after introduction of the checklist (p = 0.046 Fisher exact test). Non compliance was reduced in both emergency and elective procedures.

Conclusions: Establishment of the WHO checklist for routine use in all general surgery patients may significantly improve VTE guideline compliance of all general surgery patients.

MeSH terms

  • Checklist*
  • Female
  • Guideline Adherence
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative / adverse effects*
  • Venous Thromboembolism / etiology
  • Venous Thromboembolism / prevention & control*
  • World Health Organization