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Surgeons report fewer postoperative blood clots using risk-based preventive measures
Date:6/2/2014

Chicago (June 2, 2014): Surgery patients are much less likely to get a blood clot in the lower extremities or lungs if they receive preventive treatment based on their individual clotting risk, in addition to walking soon after the operation. Results from a surgical quality improvement study, appearing in the June issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, indicate that the odds of this common and potentially life-threatening postoperative complication steadily declined after the implementation of a multicomponent prevention program in a hospital's department of surgery.

Researchers at Boston Medical Center, Boston, Mass., reported that they lowered the frequency of deep venous thrombosesblood clots in a deep vein, usually in a lower extremityby 84 percent two years after the prevention efforts began, compared with the results two years before the program. The occurrence of pulmonary emboli, or blood clots that travel to the lungs, fell by 55 percent in the same period, according to study authors.

"We are encouraged by the success in reducing the frequency of these devastating events among our patients by implementing this prevention program," said co-investigator David McAneny, MD, FACS, vice chair of surgery at Boston Medical Center. Surgery patients have an increased risk of developing these blood clots, collectively known as venous thromboembolism (VTE). Pulmonary emboli can leave patients with pulmonary hypertension, which is high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs. Deep venous thromboses can lead to debilitating swelling and chronic pain of the affected limb.

Before this study, Dr. McAneny and colleagues found that their large medical center had higher-than-expected rates of postoperative VTE, when their outcomes were compared with other hospitals while adjusting for severities of illness. They obtained their information through the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Progra
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Contact: Sally Garneski
pressinquiry@facs.org
312-202-5409
American College of Surgeons
Source:Eurekalert

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