Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) is a leading and potentially preventable cause of death in hospitalised patients.

It has been estimated that up to 25000 people in the UK die from hospital associated VTE each year, many if not most of which could be prevented by the use of appropriate thromboprophylaxis as indicated by the outcome of a detailed thrombosis risk assessment performed on admission and reassessed after 24 hours and as appropriate throughout the admission. A UK survey carried out in 2005, suggested that 71% of patients assessed to be at medium or high risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT) did not receive any form of mechanical or chemical thromboprophylaxis.

VTE, spontaneous or precipitated, can occur in any individual. The incidence increases with age and with numerous recognised risk factors including: hospitalisation for any reason; prolonged immobility; dehydration; oestrogen containing hormonal treatment and malignancy. The presence of an underlying thrombophilia (inherited or acquired) will increase baseline risk further.

VTE encompasses a range of clinical presentations and is often asymptomatic. There is a considerable burden of mortality and morbidity associated with VTE, including: venous insufficiency; post thrombotic limb/syndrome; pulmonary hypertension.

This policy seeks to enable healthcare practitioners at ASPH to identify patients at risk of developing VTE and select appropriate preventative treatment to reduce the mortality and morbidity associated with this disease.


Policy Details

Download: PDF version
Compiled by: Rebecca Simpson, VTE Prevention Nurse Specialist in consultation with Dr Caroline Hawche, Consultant Haematologist and Dr Lewis Vanhinsbergh
Ratified by: Thrombosis Committee
Date Ratified: March 2024
Date Issued: April 2024
Review Date: March 2026
Target Audience: All clinical staff
Contact name: Rebecca Simpson, Lead Nurse VTE Prevention


See also:

  • NICE Guideline [NG89] “Venous thromboembolism in over 16s: reducing the risk of hospital-acquired deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism” (2019).
  • NICE Quality Standard [QS201] “Venous thromboembolism in adults” (2021).
  • NICE Guideline [NG191] “COVID-19 rapid guideline: managing COVID-19" (2024).
  • Lower limb immobilisation venous thromboembolism (VTE) Prevention Policy


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