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Keywords:

  • prevention;
  • psychiatry;
  • psychotropic drugs;
  • venous thrombosis and embolism

Aims:  The aim of the present study was to compile a specific algorithm of prevention of venous thromboembolism in hospitalized psychiatric patients because this specific issue has not been addressed sufficiently in the literature.

Methods:  The computer database MEDLINE was searched using key words (schizophrenia OR depression OR bipolar) AND (antipsychotic OR antidepressant) AND (venous thromboembolism OR pulmonary embolism) AND (prevention OR prophylaxis) in 2006.

Results:  Based on the literature regarding non-surgical and surgical patients with respect to specificities in mental disorders (obesity induced with psychotropic drugs, possible catatonia, physical restraint, potential dehydration, antipsychotic treatment), a scoring system and a synoptic algorithm of prevention of venous thromboembolism modified for hospitalized psychiatric patients, were suggested.

Conclusions:  According to the authors' knowledge this is the first attempt to establish such guidelines exclusively in psychiatry. Individual preventative clinical measures are suggested, ranging from regular physical exercise of lower extremities to repeated parenteral application of high doses of heparin tailored to every patient's risk for venous thromboembolism. Economic data support implementation of a proposed decision procedure into psychiatric clinical practice. Prospective discussion of its international applicability would be beneficial from both the clinical and the scientific points of view.