Researchers analysed 88,183 patients in 358 hospitals across 32 countries and assessed them for VTE risk on the basis of hospital charts and American College of Chest Physicians guidelines.
Of those assessed, 51.8% were considered to be at risk of VTE, including 64.4% of surgical patients and 41.5% of medical patients.
Only 37% of UK medical patients considered at risk received VTE prophylaxis, compared with 70% of those in Germany.
Results showed 74% of UK surgical patients considered at risk were receiving prophylaxis, compared with 92% in Germany.
Overall 58.5% of surgical patients at risk received prophylaxis, compared with 39.5% of medical patients.
Authors said: 'More than half of all hospitalised patients worldwide are at risk for VTE. Only half of at risk patients received an ACCP-recommended method of prophylaxis.'
The Lancet (2008) 371:387-394