Venous thromboembolism (VTE), blood clots occurring as deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, or both, is an important and growing public health issue. The precise number of people affected by VTE is unknown; however, estimates suggest that up to 900,000 events resulting in as many as 100,000 premature deaths occur in the United States yearly with healthcare costs as high as $10 billion.[1-3
] Although anyone can develop VTE, research has shown that half of VTE events occurring in the outpatient setting are directly linked to a recent hospitalization or surgery.[4
] In patients with cancer, VTE is a leading cause of death after the cancer itself.[5, 6
] Fortunately, many of these healthcare-associated VTE (HA-VTE) cases can be prevented. Recent analyses have shown that as many as 70% of HA-VTE cases are preventable through appropriate prophylaxis,[7-9
] yet reports suggest that fewer than half of hospital patients receive VTE prophylaxis in accordance with accepted evidence-based guidelines.[10
] Appropriate prevention of HA-VTE can result in a significant reduction in overall VTE occurrence, thereby decreasing healthcare burden and unnecessary deaths.
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