Deep Vein Thrombosis: Risk Factors and Prevention in Surgical Patients
BACKGROUND: Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a cause of preventable morbidity and mortality in hospitalized surgical patients. The occurrence of the disease is related to presence of risk factors, which are related primarily to trauma, venous stasis and hyper-coagulability. DVT seems not to be taken seriously by many surgeons in Nigeria. This is despite
comprehensive studies that show no real differences in racial demography of the disease.
OBJECTIVE: To highlight the importance of physician awareness about DVT especially its risks and preventionmethods.
METHODS: A detailed literature search was completed to extrapolate articles that described DVT risks and prevention. This involved hand and online searches. Specific search terms used included DVT/risk factors/prevention. The searches generated 468 papers. Of these 57 papers were included in the review.
RESULTS: Predominant risk factors for DVT include middle or old age, prolonged surgery, trauma, confinement, presence of malignancy and insertion of deep venous catheters. In women, contraceptive use, hormone replacement therapy, pregnancy and the puepernum are a additional risk factors. Prophylactic measures include those directed at eliminating venous stasis and those directed at changes in blood coagulability.
CONCLUSION: Deep Venous Thrombosis is a common disease with fatal and serious long term burdensome complications. We must target primary and secondary prophylaxis to improve survival and reduce morbidity from this preventable disease.
WAJM 2009; 28(2): 77–82.