Physician practices in the prevention of venous thromboembolism

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Adult; Aged; Female; Humans; Logistic Models; Male; Massachusetts; Middle Aged; *Physician's Practice Patterns; Postoperative Complications; Pulmonary Embolism; Retrospective Studies; Risk Factors; Thrombophlebitis


Bioinformatics | Biostatistics | Epidemiology | Health Services Research


OBJECTIVE: To determine the rate of use of prophylaxis for venous thromboembolism in high-risk hospital patients.

DESIGN: A retrospective medical record review.

SETTING: A community-wide study in 16 short-stay hospitals in central Massachusetts.

PATIENTS: A total of 2017 patients with multiple risk factors for venous thromboembolism.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: On the basis of age, length of hospitalization, and the presence of at least one additional major risk factor, 17% of 151,349 discharges (25,410 patients) were identified as being at high risk for venous thromboembolism. Eight percent of these discharges were randomly selected for medical record review. Prophylaxis for venous thromboembolism was received by 32% of these high-risk patients. Prophylaxis use among the 16 study hospitals varied widely, ranging from 9% to 56%, and was higher in teaching hospitals than in nonteaching hospitals (44% compared with 19%; P less than 0.001). One or more of the following methods of prophylaxis was used: low-dose heparin (78%), intermittent calf compression (13%), warfarin (12%), and inferior vena caval filter (3%). Use of prophylaxis increased with the number of risk factors identified (P less than 0.001).

CONCLUSION: Prophylaxis for venous thromboemobolism is underused, particularly in nonteaching hospitals.


Ann Intern Med. 1991 Oct 15;115(8):591-5.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Annals of internal medicine

PubMed ID


Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed