Grand Canyon University
July 24, 2011
Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a disease that includes both deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE). More than 2 million Americans suffer from VTE each year, with over half of these individuals developing their VTE in the hospital or in the 30 days post hospitalization. In a large registry trial capturing more than 5,450 patients at 183 sites over a 6-month period, 50 percent (2,726) developed their VTE during hospitalization. Nurses are accountable in helping change the practice of venous thromboembolism prophylaxis. There are many risk factors that can cause VTE including recent hospitalization, surgery, prolonged immobility, recent travel, trauma, and certain conditions including heart disease, respiratory disease, cancer, and clotting disorders. In our study, waist circumference was more predictive of a VTE than body mass index. We also found that heavy smoking predicted a VTE, whereas hypertension did not (Hansson et al., 1999). There are pharmacological and non pharmacological ways to protect patients in the hospital setting. Using these in conjunction with each other is the overall safest method. Non pharmacological methods of VTE prophylaxis include early ambulation, sequential compression devices (SCD), and compression stockings. Early ambulation promotes venous return and helps minimize length of stay in hospitals. Compression stockings and SCDs help prevent venous stasis. A recent systematic review found that graduated compression stockings, intermittent pneumatic compression devices, and foot pumps reduce the risk of DVT in surgical patients by two thirds when used in monotherapy and by an additional 50% when added to drug prophylaxis (Roderick et al., 2005). Pharmacological methods of VTE prophylaxis include anticoagulants such as low molecular weight...