VTE rates unchanged despite increase in use of prevention therapies

Preventing venous thromboembolism has been promoted as a patient safety priority by many agencies, but VTE rates after colorectal surgery rarely happen, and the rate of VTE incidence has remain unchanged even though clinicians are increasingly using pre- and post-surgical prevention therapies, according to a report in JAMA Surgery.

Researchers analyzed data from 16,120 patients in Washington who had colorectal surgery between 2006 and 2011 to discover if the incidence of VTE changed along with the increased use of prophylaxis.

They found that the incidence of VTE up to 90 days after surgery was 2.2 percent, or 360 in 16,120 patients. Of those patients, 61 percent had VTE complications during their hospital stay for their surgery.

Researchers also observed an increase in the use of VTE prevention therapies during the study time period, increasing from 31.6 percent to 86.4 percent for pre-surgery use and from 59.6 percent to 91.4 percent for in-hospital use.

"Venous thromboembolism remains an infrequent but important complication, and rates are largely unchanged despite increasing chemoprophylaxis use," the authors concluded.

They did note that almost 40 percent of VTE events happened after discharge, so there could be room for quality improvement in the use of extended prophylaxis. "However, it must be carefully balanced against the potential for increased complications and higher costs at no additional benefits," they noted.

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