The Use of Low Molecular Weight Heparin for Venous Thromboembolism Prophylaxis in Medical Patients: How Much Are We Adherent to the Guidelines?


Background: Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a common complication seen during or after hospitalization that manifests as deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and/or pulmonary embolism (PE). PE is considered the commonest preventable cause of death during and/or after hospitalization. Thus, pharmacological and mechanical methods are used to prevent VTE in hospitalized patients. Despite the availability of guidelines for VTE prophylaxis, it is crucial to assess the adherence and adaptation of the institution to these guidelines. Purpose: This study aimed to investigate adherence to the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) 2012 VTE prophylaxis guidelines in hospitalized medical patients in a tertiary care hospital in the United Arab Emirates. Methods: An observational prospective design was utilized in this study. To achieve the purpose, primary and secondary end points were identified to be the core of the investigation. The primary end points were: the incidence of bleeding, VTE, and cardiovascular events. While the secondary end points were: dose and indication validity for prophylaxis, VTE and bleeding risk assessments, adverse drug events (ADE) other than bleeding, appropriate monitoring when on low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) and the presence of contraindication at the time of prescribing LMWH. Results: 16 patients (20%) out of the total 80 met one or more of the primary end points. The vast majority of patients (81.25%) developed bleeding, while VTE was seen in one case only during hospitalization. 11 patients (13.75%) received LMWH while a contraindication was present. 15 patients (18.75%) who were prescribed LMWH had an International Medical Prevention Registry on Venous Thromboembolism (IMPROVE) bleeding risk score of ≥7. However, 5 out of 13 patients (38.46%) who developed bleeding had a bleeding score of ≥7, and the relationship between bleeding score of ≥7 and the development of bleeding was statistically significant (p = 0.047). When investigating the doses that were utilized, 40% were prescribed an inappropriate dose. Conclusion: Various factors played a role in the inappropriateness of VTE prophylaxis such as; poor adherence to VTE guidelines, inappropriate dosing and monitoring, and not evaluating the bleeding risk. Hence, to be able to achieve effective VTE prophylaxis, these factors need to be addressed through adherence to and adaptation of the ACCP 2012 VTE prophylaxis guidelines.

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AlHajri, L. and Gebran, N. (2015) The Use of Low Molecular Weight Heparin for Venous Thromboembolism Prophylaxis in Medical Patients: How Much Are We Adherent to the Guidelines?. Open Journal of Internal Medicine, 5, 81-91. doi: 10.4236/ojim.2015.54012.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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