The Use of Anti-Thrombotic Devices for Prevention of Post-Operative Deep Vein Thrombosis

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Deep vein thrombosis often occurs in patients having major surgery, particularly orthopedic surgical patients especially if they are immobilized for any length of time post-operatively. Deep vein thrombosis could eventuate in fatal pulmonary embolism; this is preventable with appropriate prophylaxis. Joanna Briggs Institute (2008) reviewed that the risk of deep vein thrombosis formation rises with the duration of the operative procedure and period of immobility. This paper will look at 5 different prophylactic methods for prevention of deep vein thrombosis post operative, which will include: The effectiveness of anti embolic stockings, the use of intermittent pneumatic compression device, effectiveness of combined anti-embolic stockings and intermittent pneumatic compression (mechanical methods), the use of pharmacological prophylaxis - low molecular weight heparin, and the effectiveness of combined mechanical and pharmacological methods.
Many doctors prefer their patients to wear anti embolic stockings pre-operative, intra-operative and post operative as a preventative measure for deep vein thrombosis. Anti embolic stockings are designed to support the lower extremities and maintain compression of small veins and capillaries. The constant compression forces blood into larger vessels which promote venous return and prevent circulatory stasis (Crisp & Taylor 2008, p.1566). There have been many research papers conducted on the effectiveness of anti embolic stockings in the prophylaxis of post-operative deep vein thrombosis. Most of them state that the use of anti embolic stockings is assessed according to individual risk factors, the type of surgery i.e. orthopedic, cardiac or abdominal and how long the patient will be immobilized. An earlier research done by Byrne (2001) stated that when wearing anti embolic stockings properly it reduces the incidence of deep vein thrombosis by more than 60%, but they have to be correctly sized and fitted to work efficiently

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