Success as blood clot rates plunge

24/01/12

The Trust have halved the rate of VTE (venous thromboembolism) at its hospitals, making a significant contribution to patient safety.

The term venous thromboembolism (VTE) refers to both deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE).  One of the most common types of venous thromboembolism is deep vein thrombosis (DVT). This is a blood clot in one of the deep veins of the body, usually one of the larger veins in your leg.

Sometimes, part of a newly formed blood clot can come away from its original site and travel through the bloodstream. If this occurs, the clot can become lodged in another part of the body. This is known as an embolism. A blood clot that lodges in one of the lungs is called a pulmonary embolism (PE).

An estimated 25,000 people in the UK die from preventable hospital-acquired VTE every year, and it is a significant cause of long-term disability and chronic ill health. VTE prevention aims to ensure that all adult patients admitted to hospital are risk-assessed for VTE and, where appropriate, receive the right preventative measure.

This dramatic reduction has been achieved by using a risk assessment tool incorporated into the drug chart. Medical and nursing staff assess their patients and give appropriate treatment to patients at high risk to prevent them from getting blood clots.

Variability of practice has also been reduced, with clinical champions and teams taking ownership of the problem in their areas. VTE risk assessment has been highlighted at events and was covered at the new speed updating session last year.

The Trust also looked at the number of patients who were discharged with a code for either Deep Vein Thrombosis or Pulmonary Embolism.

Dr Janet Ropner, Associate Medical Director said:

“The successful introduction of Venous Thromboembolism risk assessment and treatment of high risk patients has improved patient outcomes in the Trust.

“In March 2011 the rate of risk assessment reached in excess of 90% and this consistent performance has halved rates of VTE-related conditions in the Trust.

“We would like to thank all the staff who have made the hospital safer by contributing to this project”.