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J Hosp Med. 2013 Oct;8(10):582-8. doi: 10.1002/jhm.2071. Epub 2013 Aug 27.

Venous thromboembolism prevention guidelines for medical inpatients: mind the (implementation) gap.

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  • 1Division of Hospital Medicine, Center for Innovation and Improvement Science, University of California, San Diego, San Diego, California.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Hospital-associated nonsurgical venous thromboembolism (VTE) is an important problem addressed by new guidelines from the American College of Physicians (ACP) and American College of Chest Physicians (AT9).

METHODS:

Narrative review and critique.

RESULTS:

Both guidelines discount asymptomatic VTE outcomes and caution against overprophylaxis, but have different methodologies and estimates of risk/benefit. Guideline complexity and lack of consensus on VTE risk assessment contribute to an implementation gap. Methods to estimate prophylaxis benefit have significant limitations because major trials included mostly screening-detected events. AT9 relies on a single Italian cohort study to conclude that those with a Padua score ≥4 have a very high VTE risk, whereas patients with a score <4 (60% of patients) have a very small risk. However, the cohort population has less comorbidity than US inpatients, and over 1% of patients with a score of 3 suffered pulmonary emboli. The ACP guideline does not endorse any risk-assessment model. AT9 includes the Padua model and Caprini point-based system for nonsurgical inpatients and surgical inpatients, respectively, but there is no evidence they are more effective than simpler risk-assessment models.

CONCLUSIONS:

New VTE prevention guidelines provide varied guidance on important issues including risk assessment. If Padua is used, a threshold of 3, as well as 4, should be considered. Simpler VTE risk-assessment models may be superior to complicated point-based models in environments without sophisticated clinical decision support.

© 2013 Society of Hospital Medicine.

PMID:
23983041
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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