High risk of the critically ill for venous thromboembolism

Crit Care Med. 1982 Jul;10(7):448-50. doi: 10.1097/00003246-198207000-00006.


The incidence of deep venous thrombosis of the legs (DVT) was studied in 119 critically ill patients by 125I-labeled fibrinogen scanning; the efficacy of low-dose heparin prophylaxis was assessed in a randomized, double-blind study. DVT occurred in 29% of control patients and in 13% of patients receiving heparin 5000 U subcutaneously twice daily. DVT was found mainly in men and was associated with circulatory impairment, respiratory failure and recent vascular or cancer surgery. In a comparison study of medical patients, DVT occurred in 10% untreated and 2% treated. In conclusion, the critically ill are at high risk of venous thromboembolism and low-dose prophylaxis is warranted in those who have no hemostatic impairment.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Heparin / administration & dosage
  • Heparin / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Random Allocation
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / complications
  • Risk
  • Thrombophlebitis / epidemiology
  • Thrombophlebitis / etiology*
  • Thrombophlebitis / prevention & control


  • Heparin