South African Family Practice

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Clinical overview of venous thromboembolism

Gustav Schellack, Tumelo Modau, Natalie Schellack


Venous thromboembolism (VTE) encompasses two vascular conditions that are of significant importance, namely deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE). DVT is also the most common cause of PE. Medical and surgical patients, and individuals who are at increased risk of developing VTE through a variety of factors, require adequate thromboprophylaxis. Primary and secondary prevention, as well as the definitive treatment of VTE, are accomplished through the use of a variety of anticoagulant drugs. This article attempts to provide an overview of VTE, and its prevention and treatment.

Keywords: anticoagulants, deep vein thrombosis, DVT, embolus, NOAC, PE, pulmonary embolism, thromboprophylaxis, thrombus, venous thromboembolism, Virchow’s triad, VTE

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