Research has shown that the incidence of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE), referred to as venous thromboembolism (VTE), is more than 100 times greater among hospitalised patients compared to those in the community.
Pulmonary embolism is responsible for 10 per cent of all deaths in hospital, even though most of these deaths are largely preventable.
The gap between evidence and practice
VTEs occur, and are sometimes the cause of death, among a proportion of hospital patients either while they are in hospital or within a few months of their discharge.
Fortunately, there are effective prophylactic measures available that can reduce the likelihood of death or lifelong complications caused by potentially-preventable deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. Unfortunately, patients who are at risk are often not being identified and those who do receive VTE prophylaxis may not be getting the most appropriate form for their particular circumstance.
For these reasons, the prevention of VTE has been identified nationally and internationally as a priority area for improving patient safety.