Prevention of Venous Thromboembolism in Acutely Ill Medical Patients: A New Era

Semin Respir Crit Care Med. 2021 Apr;42(2):308-315. doi: 10.1055/s-0041-1723018. Epub 2021 Feb 6.


Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is the leading preventable cause of death in hospitalized patients and data consistently show that acutely ill medical patients remain at increased risk for VTE-related morbidity and mortality in the post-hospital discharge period. Prescribing extended thromboprophylaxis for up to 45 days following an acute hospitalization in key patient subgroups that include more than one-quarter of hospitalized medically-ill patients represents a paradigm shift in the way hospital-based physicians think about VTE prevention. Advances in the field of primary thromboprophylaxis in acutely-ill medical patients using validated VTE and bleeding risk assessment models have established key patient subgroups at high risk of VTE and low risk of bleeding that may benefit from both in-hospital and extended thromboprophylaxis. The direct oral anticoagulants betrixaban and rivaroxaban are now U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved for in-hospital and extended thromboprophylaxis in medically ill patients and provide net clinical benefit in these key subgroups. Coronavirus disease-2019 may predispose patients to VTE due to excessive inflammation, platelet activation, endothelial dysfunction, and hemostasis. The optimum preventive strategy for these patients requires further investigation. This article aims to review the latest concepts in predicting and preventing VTE and discuss the new era of extended thromboprophylaxis in hospitalized medically ill patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use*
  • Benzamides / therapeutic use
  • COVID-19 / blood
  • COVID-19 / complications
  • COVID-19 / therapy*
  • Critical Care
  • Decision Support Systems, Clinical
  • Duration of Therapy*
  • Hospitalization*
  • Humans
  • Medical Informatics
  • Patient Discharge
  • Pulmonary Embolism / etiology
  • Pulmonary Embolism / prevention & control*
  • Pyridines / therapeutic use
  • Risk Assessment
  • Rivaroxaban / therapeutic use
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Venous Thromboembolism / etiology
  • Venous Thromboembolism / prevention & control*
  • Venous Thrombosis / etiology
  • Venous Thrombosis / prevention & control*


  • Anticoagulants
  • Benzamides
  • Pyridines
  • betrixaban
  • Rivaroxaban