Document Detail

Prevention of venous thromboembolism.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  2661385     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The aim of prophylaxis in venous thromboembolism is firstly to prevent fatal pulmonary embolism and secondly to reduce the morbidity associated with deep vein thrombosis and the post-phlebitic limb. Particularly high-risk groups are identifiable and include those over 60 years of age undergoing major surgery, patients with malignancy and those undergoing hip operations. Low-dose subcutaneous heparin (5000 U s.c. commenced two hours preoperatively and continued eight to twelve hourly until the patient is fully mobile) is unequivocally effective in preventing deep vein thrombosis in medical and surgical patients and, most importantly, significantly reduces the incidence of fatal postoperative pulmonary embolism and total mortality. Furthermore, in established deep vein thrombosis, low-dose heparin limits proximal clot propagation, which is the prelude to pulmonary embolism. Despite this, surveys have demonstrated an alarming deficiency amongst clinicians in the application of measures to prevent venous thromboembolism. Heparin prophylaxis carries a small risk of increased bleeding complications, mostly evidenced by the frequency of wound haematoma rather than major haemorrhage. Low molecular heparin fragments (e.g. Fragmin, Choay, Enoxaprin) are now emerging as useful alternative agents, having the advantage of once daily administration and yet providing similar efficacy in the prevention of deep vein thrombosis. However, protection against fatal pulmonary embolism has yet to be demonstrated. Mechanical methods of prophylaxis designed to counteract venous stasis, such as graduated elastic compression stockings, are also beneficial in protection against deep vein thrombosis but by themselves do not achieve such consistently good prophylaxis as low-dose heparin. However, clinical trials with combinations of mechanical methods and low-dose heparin indicate that this may be the optimum approach to very high-risk patients. In the presence of established acute deep vein thrombosis, anticoagulant therapy is the mainstay in preventing pulmonary embolism. Vena caval interruption procedures should be reserved for patients in whom anticoagulation is contraindicated or for those who develop recurrent pulmonary embolism despite adequate anticoagulation.
M D Stringer; V V Kakkar
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Herz     Volume:  14     ISSN:  0340-9937     ISO Abbreviation:  Herz     Publication Date:  1989 Jun 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1989-08-10     Completed Date:  1989-08-10     Revised Date:  2005-11-16    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7801231     Medline TA:  Herz     Country:  GERMANY, WEST    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  135-47     Citation Subset:  IM    
Thrombosis Research Unit, King's College Hospital, London, United Kingdom.
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MeSH Terms
Postoperative Complications / prevention & control
Pulmonary Embolism / prevention & control*
Thrombophlebitis / prevention & control*

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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