Prevention and treatment of venous thromboembolism in the elderly patient. Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a common complication among hospitalized patients. Pharmacological thromboprophylaxis has emerged as the cornerstone for VTE prevention. As trials on thromboprophylaxis in medical patients have proven the efficacy of both low-molecular-weight heparins (LMWHs) and unfractionated heparin (UFH), all acutely medical ill patients should be considered for pharmacological thromboprophylaxis. Unlike in the surgical setting where the risk of associated VTE attributable to surgery is well recognized, and where widespread use of pharmacological thromboprophylaxis and early mobilization has resulted in significant reductions in the risk of VTE, appropriate VTE prophylaxis is under-used in medical patients. Many reasons for this under-use have been identified, including low perceived risk of VTE in medical patients, absence of optimal tools for risk assessment, heterogeneity of patients and their diseases, and fear of bleeding complications. A consistent group among hospitalized medical patients is composed of elderly patients with impaired renal function, a condition potentially associated with bleeding. How these patients should be managed is discussed in this review. Particular attention is devoted to LMWHs and fondaparinux and to measures to improve the safety and the efficacy of their use.

authors

publication date

  • 2007