Venous thromboembolism in the Get With The Guidelines-Stroke acute ischemic stroke population: incidence and patterns of prophylaxis

J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis. 2014 Jan;23(1):123-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2012.10.018. Epub 2012 Dec 14.


Background: Venous thromboembolism (VTE), which includes deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolus (PE), represents a serious complication in hospitalized ischemic stroke patients. This study examines the incidence of VTE and the patterns of VTE prophylaxis in acute ischemic stroke patients deemed appropriate for VTE prophylaxis (nonambulatory) in the Get With The Guidelines-Stroke (GWTG-S) study.

Methods: We analyzed data from 149,916 patients who were admitted with acute ischemic stroke and enrolled in GWTG-S from 1259 U.S. hospitals. Patient variables and site characteristics were analyzed in relation to reported administration of VTE prophylaxis.

Results: The overall rate of VTE prophylaxis in the analysis cohort was 93% (139,476/149,916). The median site prophylaxis rate was 95%, and prophylaxis rates ranged from 17% (1 site) to 100% (101 sites). Factors associated with increased likelihood of VTE prophylaxis in the multivariable model included history of atrial fibrillation/flutter, receipt of intravenous or intra-arterial tissue plasminogen activator, and admission to an academic hospital. Increasing age, black race, and a history of peripheral vascular disease, diabetes, or stroke were associated with lower likelihood of prophylaxis. Patients receiving care in the Midwest were less likely to receive prophylaxis compared to other regions.

Conclusions: Despite a high overall rate of VTE prophylaxis, VTE was found to occur in approximately 3% of GWTG-S patients. Reported rates of VTE prophylaxis differed among hospitals by region and hospital type, and among patients by age, race, and medical comorbidities.

Keywords: Deep venous thrombosis; pulmonary embolus; regional variations; treatment variations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brain Ischemia / epidemiology*
  • Brain Ischemia / therapy*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pulmonary Embolism / complications
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Stroke / epidemiology*
  • Stroke / therapy*
  • Thrombolytic Therapy
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Venous Thromboembolism / epidemiology*
  • Venous Thromboembolism / prevention & control*
  • Young Adult