Original

Intensive Care Medicine

, Volume 38, Issue 6, pp 984-990

Coagulation Day 2010: an Austrian survey on the routine of thromboprophylaxis in intensive care

  • E. SchadenAffiliated withDepartment of Anesthesiology, General Intensive Care and Pain Control, Medical University of Vienna Email author 
  • , P. G. MetnitzAffiliated withDepartment of Anesthesiology, General Intensive Care and Pain Control, Medical University of Vienna
  • , G. PfannerAffiliated withDepartment of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, Landeskrankenhaus Feldkirch
  • , S. HeilAffiliated withDepartment of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, Wilhelminenspital
  • , T. PernerstorferAffiliated withDepartment of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, Konventhospital Barmherzige Brüder
  • , P. PergerAffiliated withDepartment of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, Krankenhaus Hietzing
  • , H. SchoechlAffiliated withDepartment of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care, AUVA Trauma Hospital
  • , D. FriesAffiliated withDepartment of General and Surgical Critical Care Medicine, Innsbruck Medical University
  • , M. GuetlAffiliated withDepartment of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, Medical University of Graz
    • , S. Kozek-LangeneckerAffiliated withDepartment of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, Evangelical Hospital Vienna

Abstract

Purpose

Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a common but often overlooked life-threatening complication of critical illness. The aim of this cross-sectional survey was to assess current practice of thromboprophylaxis as well as adherence to international guidelines.

Methods

After ethics committee approval, all intensive care units in Austrian hospitals treating adult patients were invited to participate in this web-based survey. Anonymized data on each patient treated at the participating intensive care units on Coagulation Day 2010 were collected using an electronic case report form. Risk assessment, choice and monitoring of anticoagulants, means of mechanical prophylaxis, and demographic data were recorded.

Results

Data from 325 critically ill patients were collected. Patients had a median of four risk factors for thrombosis and 6 % suffered from VTE. Of the 325 patients, 80 % received low molecular weight heparins subcutaneously, 10 % received unfractionated heparin intravenously, 1 % received alternative anticoagulants and 9 % received no pharmacological prophylaxis. Mechanical prophylaxis was used in 49 % with a predominant use of graduated compression stockings. In 39 % a combination of pharmacological and mechanical prophylaxis was applied and 5 % received no prophylaxis at all. Overall guideline adherence was 40 % on Coagulation Day 2010.

Conclusion

Current practice of thromboprophylaxis is predominantly based on the administration of low molecular weight heparins prescribed at rather arbitrary doses without a discernible relationship to drug monitoring, thromboembolic risk factors, vasopressor use or fluid balance. The use of mechanical prophylaxis, evaluation of risk scores and overall guideline adherence must be further encouraged by education, training and communication.

Keywords

Critical illness Prevention of thromboembolism, low molecular weight heparin Compression stockings, intermittent pneumatic compression devices