Preventing VTE after Surgery

Friday, July 22, 2016

Venous thromboembolism, or VTE, is the number one cause of potentially preventable death in hospitalized patients. In todays 60 Second Housecall, Dr. Edward Hill looks at prevention of VTE for post-surgical patients.

Dr. Hill:

Venous thromboembolism is a serious and preventable condition in patients who have undergone recent surgery.

There are two forms of VTEdeep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. Deep vein thromboses occur when a blood clot forms in the deep veins, most commonly in the arms or legs. Pulmonary embolisms occur when a DVT breaks off and becomes lodged in the lungs. Venous thromboembolism accounts for 100,000 patient deaths per year.

After major surgery, there are three important components to reducing the risk of VTE if ordered by a doctor. Patients who have surgery requiring at least an overnight stay should have some type of VTE prevention.

Get out of bed and walk at least three times a day.

Wear sequential compression devices whenever in bed or in a chair. An SCD is a sleeve that is wrapped around the leg that squeezes the leg to keep blood moving, and

Take blood-thinning medications. Using a blood-thinning drug is the most effective way to prevent VTE, particularly after major surgery.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.