All patients admitted to hospital should be assessed for the risk of developing blood clots, according to latest NICE guidance.
The new clinical guidelines on the prevention of venous thromboembolism (VTE), published today, recommend risk assessing all hospital patients for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and giving them preventative treatment that “suits their individual needs”.
This could include blood-thinning drugs such as heparin, anti-embolism stockings and foot impulse or pneumatic devices.
The guidance, which also recommends assessing a patient’s risk of bleeding before any blood thinning drugs are given, aims to cut the number of hospital deaths from VTE. It updates and replaces 2007 NICE guidance on prevention of VTE in surgical patients.
NICE estimates that around 25,000 people who are admitted to hospital die from preventable VTE every year and the Department of Health has made prevention of thromboembolism a major priority across the NHS.
NICE clinical director Dr Fergus Macbeth said: “It has been reported that measures to prevent VTE in hospital patients are used inconsistently and in many cases patients that are at significant risk of developing a blood clot don’t get any preventative treatment at all.
“This guideline covers all patients, not only those having surgery, setting out very clearly what medical [and nursing] staff should do now to assess and address VTE risk.”