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Authors

  1. Kaczorowski, Kelly BSN, RN
  2. Pattillo, Marilyn M. PhD, RN, CNS, GNP

Abstract

Venous thromboembolism (VTE), long been recognized as a preventable complication of hospitalization, is becoming more widely recognized as a risk for both medical and surgical patients. Recommendations exist for VTE prophylaxis (PPX) in medical patients, but current research shows that the utilization of these guidelines is suboptimal. The rates of VTE PPX are lower than recommended rates, and in those patients receiving PPX, the type, dosage, or duration is not in accordance with recognized recommendations. The recommendations and protocols for medical patients that are currently available should be followed, and as new research is developed and reviewed, current practice should be changed to reflect it. The clinical nurse specialist is in a unique position to assimilate the current recommendations into practice and to enhance patient care by virtue of having multiple spheres of influence, capable of influencing institution policy, patient, family, nurse, and physician education, and direct patient care. The VTE PPX is not overused, but underused, and institutions, physicians, and nurses all need to be cognizant of patient risk for VTE with the need to treat prophylactically and initiate PPX according to the American College of Chest Physicians guidelines.