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Keywords:

  • anticoagulation;
  • deep vein thrombosis;
  • medical patients;
  • prophylaxis;
  • pulmonary embolism;
  • risk assessment;
  • venous thromboembolism

Summary. Background: Prophylaxis of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in hospitalized medical patients is largely underused. We sought to assess the value of a simple risk assessment model (RAM) for the identification of patients at risk of VTE. Methods: In a prospective cohort study, 1180 consecutive patients admitted to a department of internal medicine in a 2-year period were classified as having a high or low risk of VTE according to a predefined RAM. They were followed-up for up to 90 days to assess the occurrence of symptomatic VTE complications. The primary study outcome was to assess the adjusted hazard ratio (HR) of VTE in high-risk patients who had adequate in-hospital thromboprophylaxis in comparison with those who did not, and that of VTE in the latter group in comparison with low-risk patients. Results: Four hundred and sixty-nine patients (39.7%) were labelled as having a high risk of thrombosis. VTE developed in four of the 186 (2.2%) who received thromboprophylaxis, and in 31 of the 283 (11.0%) who did not (HR of VTE, 0.13; 95% CI, 0.04–0.40). VTE developed also in two of the 711 (0.3%) low-risk patients (HR of VTE in high-risk patients without prophylaxis as compared with low-risk patients, 32.0; 95% CI, 4.1–251.0). Bleeding occurred in three of the 186 (1.6%) high-risk patients who had thromboprophylaxis. Conclusions: Our RAM can help discriminate between medical patients at high and low risk of VTE. The adoption of adequate thromboprophylaxis in high-risk patients during hospitalization leads to longstanding protection against thromboembolic events with a low risk of bleeding.