, Volume 176, Issue 3, pp 169-173
Date: 07 Jun 2007

Risk-based evaluation of thromboprophylaxis among surgical inpatients: are low risk patients treated unnecessarily?

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Venous thromboembolism is a common source of morbidity and mortality but a variety of preventative measures are available.


To audit the current practice of thromboprophylaxis and compare against published protocols.


Three-hundred and seventy-six (376) surgical patients were surveyed prospectively. A Performa was completed recording the presence of up to 11 risk factors. A risk score was calculated and the use of specific thromboprophylatic measures identified.


Heparin thromboprophylaxis was widely used, eight patients (who were on aspirin therapy) failed to receive any prophylaxis (risk factors 4–6). In addition there were 60 patients at low risk (risk score <2) received LMWH from which they were unlikely to benefit.


Thromboembolic prophylaxis is widely but unselectively applied. Adoption of a risk: benefit ratio approach should ensure those who would benefit from thromboprophylaxis are adequately treated while those in whom thromboprophylaxis is not indicated are spared unnecessary therapy.