Anna D. Garrett, PharmD, BCPS, CPP
Published Online: Saturday, September 1, 2007
A recent study of nonsurgical patients suggests that extending venous thromboembolism (VTE) prophylaxis for 1 month postdischarge can lower VTE risk by 44%. The study, which was conducted in Europe and North America, randomized acutely ill patients who were immobilized in the hospital to either stop VTE prophylaxis at discharge or continue it at home for 1 month. This is the first study to look at extending prophylaxis beyond 7 to 10 days post-discharge in medical patients. The reduction in VTE events extended out to 90 days. Bleeding events were higher in the extendedprophylaxis group, but the authors concluded that bleeding events were in line with expectations and did not appear clinically significant.

The results of this study are important because sicker patients are being discharged from the hospital. Their risk of VTE after discharge may increase because there may be less encouragement given to the patient by caregivers to maintain mobility. Extended VTE prophylaxis appears to lessen this risk.

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