Patients are not always receiving prevention treatment for venous thromboembolism
The formation of blood clots in the veins known as venous thromboembolism (VTE) is the most common circulatory cause of deaths in hospitals. But this can be prevented: by raising awareness on this condition, patients can receive life-saving treatments. Even if care providers underwent educational programs, it still seems that not all patients receive preventive treatment for VTE.
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism are both forms of VTE. These conditions can be fatal if lacking appropriate medical care. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 1 million people are affected by this disease every year, in US only. VTE prophylaxis (administration of anticoagulants such as warfarin or heparin) can reduce mortality by up to 80%.
According to a new study published by Canadian Journal of Cardiology, despite educational program, treatment is not universally offered to high risk patients: “There is a high rate of non compliance with accepted guidelines for the prevention of VTE. The introduction of a guideline-based protocol significantly increased compliance. However, a substantial proportion of patients at high risk from VTE, still did not receive prophylaxis”, study authors declared.
The study introduced a guideline-based protocol for VTE prophylaxis, in an assessed program in a cardiology care center. 3 months after program implementation, non-compliance rate had risen 21% and 5 months later, they discovered that 28% of the patients did not receive proper care.
Dr. Colette Seifer, an associate professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Manitoba in Canada, states why VTE prophylaxis can be difficult: “Awareness and education surrounding VTE prophylaxis is challenging in the inpatient teaching unit model due to a number of factors, including the high turnover of senior and junior physicians as well as nursing staff. A single time point intervention is unlikely to result in a sustained improvement in VTE prophylaxis rates.”
Researchers believe that by introducing electronic patient records and new software programs, compliance rates for this prevention treatment may be improved and the number of patients that will receive sustainable prevention treatment for VTW may increase, so that mortality rates minimize.