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Venous thromboembolism: awareness and practice of thromboprophylaxis among physicians in a tertiary-care hospital

TA Ekwere
BM Ino-Ekanem
A Ekanem


Background: Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a major public health challenge globally due to its high morbidity and mortality. The condition is often asymptomatic and under diagnosed due to lack of awareness on VTE risk factors and thromboprophylaxis. Aim: To determine the level of awareness of VTE risk factors and thromboprophylaxis practices, barriers to thromboprophylaxis and strategies for improving thromboprophylaxis among physicians in University of Uyo Teaching Hospital (UUTH). Methods: A cross sectional descriptive study was conducted. Convenient sampling method was used to select participants for the study. There were 85 physicians, 52 from medicine and 33 from surgery department. Data was collected with self administered structured questionnaire and analyzed with SPSS version 11.5. Result: The level of awareness of VTE risk factors and thromboprophylaxis practices among physicians was good (95.3% and 83.5% respectively). However, majority (71.8%) did not carry out VTE risk assessment of patients and only a few (18.8%) follow guidelines on VTE prophylaxis. Additional cost, fear of bleeding and lack of knowledge on thromboprophylaxis use (50%, 38.5% and 30.8% respectively) were the major barriers to thromboprophylaxis practice while regular seminars and educational programmes and adoption of locally designed guidelines were the major strategies that could improve thromboprophylaxis practices. Conclusion: Awareness of VTE risk factors among physicians in UUTH is good. However, the high level of thromboprophylaxis practice appears doubtful because only a few of these physicians carry out VTE risk assessment for their patients as well as follow clinical guidelines on VTE thromboprophylaxis.

Key words: Venous thromboembolism, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, risk factor, risk assessment, thromboprophylaxis