Article

Hip fracture: heparin is for thromboembolic prophylaxis.

BMJ (online) (Impact Factor: 16.38). 08/2006; 333(7559):147. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.333.7559.147-c
Source: PubMed
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    ABSTRACT: Guidelines recommend thromboprophylaxis for at least 10 days to prevent venous thromboembolism in patients undergoing high-risk orthopedic surgery, such as total hip arthroplasty (THA) or total knee arthroplasty (TKA). Furthermore, the recently updated ACCP guidelines also recommend extending the duration of thromboprophylaxis for 28 to 35 days following THA or hip fracture surgery as the risk for venous thromboembolism persists for up to 3 months after surgery. Extended-duration thromboprophylaxis (up to 6 weeks) with low-molecular-weight heparin is significantly more effective in preventing venous thromboembolism in orthopedic surgery patients than the recommended practice of at least 10 days. Extended-duration thromboprophylaxis may require risk stratification to identify high-risk patients. Current risk-assessment models have limitations and are not specific to orthopedic surgery patients; therefore, improvements may facilitate the use of extended-duration thromboprophylaxis in high-risk patients, thereby reducing the burden of venous thromboembolism.
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    ABSTRACT: Although effective strategies for the prevention of venous thromboembolism (VTE) are widely available, a significant number of patients still develop VTE because appropriate thromboprophylaxis is not correctly prescribed. We conducted this study to estimate the risk profile for VTE and the employment of adequate thromboprophylaxis procedures in patients admitted to hospitals in the state of São Paulo, Brazil. Four hospitals were included in this study. Data on risk factors for VTE and prescription of pharmacological and non-pharmacological thromboprophylaxis were collected from 1454 randomly chosen patients (589 surgical and 865 clinical). Case report forms were filled according to medical and nursing records. Physicians were unaware of the survey. Three risk assessment models were used: American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) Guidelines, Caprini score, and the International Union of Angiololy Consensus Statement (IUAS). The ACCP score classifies VTE risk in surgical patients and the others classify VTE risk in surgical and clinical patients. Contingency tables were built presenting the joined distribution of the risk score and the prescription of any pharmacological and non-pharmacological thromboprophylaxis (yes or no). According to the Caprini score, 29% of the patients with the highest risk for VTE were not prescribed any thromboprophylaxis. Considering the patients under moderate, high or highest risk who should be receiving prophylaxis, 37% and 29% were not prescribed thromboprophylaxis according to ACCP (surgical patients) and IUAS risk scores, respectively. In contrast, 27% and 42% of the patients at low risk of VTE, according to Caprini and IUAS scores, respectively, had thromboprophylaxis prescribed. Despite the existence of several guidelines, this study demonstrates that adequate thromboprophylaxis is not correctly prescribed: high-risk patients are under-treated and low-risk patients are over-treated. This condition must be changed to insure that patients receive adequate treatment for the prevention of thromboembolism.
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