Risk of Developing Venous Thromboembolism in Immobilized Patients


Venous thromboembolism (VTE) refers to blood clots formed in the veins. If the clot forms in a deep vein in the leg, the condition is known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). In situations where the blood clot breaks loose and travels to the lungs, it’s referred to as pulmonary embolism (PE). VTE is one of the leading cause of disability and death globally. According to the WTD steering committee, more that 10 million VTE cases occur each year across high, middle, and low-income countries (Piazza, Hohlfelder & Goldhaber, 2015). However, VTE-related deaths remain largely undocumented.

Patient immobilization, whether in critical care department, within a hospital, or out of hospital heightens the risk of developing VTE. Generally, hospitalized patients have various risk factors for VTE which are cumulative in nature. A VTE risk assessment must always be conducted for each immobilized patient and should be repeated each time a major change occurs in the patient’s health status. The development of VTE is usually related to recent surgery or trauma. According to Piazza, Hohlfelder & Goldhaber, (2015), the majority of fatal PE cases occur in non-trauma and non-surgical patients. In the U.S., there are around 100,000 VTE-related deaths each year, and in Europe, the VTE-related deaths are approximately 544,000.

According to modern statistics, more that 60 percent of all VTE cases occur during or after the hospitalization of a patient. VTE doesn’t discriminate, as it affects individuals of all ages and genders. The major causes of immobilization in patients are remaining in hospital for long periods of time, bed rests, and surgery (especially on the knee and hip regions).

This topic is significant to the nursing practice as it provides an in-depth analysis of the risk factors and causes of VTE in immobilized patients. The purpose of the EBP project is to find out how pharmacological prophylaxis compared to mechanical prophylaxis affect the development of venous thromboembolism within 1 week of treatment.
























Piazza, G., Hohlfelder, B., & Goldhaber, S. Z.(2015). Handbook for venous thromboembolism.





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