Venous thromboembolism was diagnosed in more than 547,000 hospitalized adults in the United States each year from 2007 to 2009, according to a CDC report.
Many of the VTE incidences may have occurred during hospitalization, when patients’ risk is increased due to immobility, major surgery or comorbidities. Consequently, additional public health efforts are needed to reduce patients’ risk for developing dangerous blood clots, the researchers said.
“Because VTE cases that occur in hospitals often are preventable, an opportunity exists to reduce disease burden through implementation of evidence-based prevention strategies in hospital settings,” Hussain R. Yusuf, MD, MPH, an epidemiologist in the CDC’s division of blood disorders, and colleagues wrote.
Yusuf and colleagues reviewed data from the National Hospital Discharge Survey from 2007 to 2009 to estimate the annual frequency of VTE diagnoses in hospitalized adults in the United States.
They determined that an estimated average of 547,596 hospitalized patients aged at least 18 years had a diagnosis of VTE each year. Of them, 78,511 (14.3%) were diagnosed with both deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.
The average annual rate of hospitalized patients with a VTE diagnosis was 239 (95% CI, 199-279) per 100,000 population.
An average of 28,726 hospitalized adults diagnosed with VTE died each year, according to the researchers’ findings. Of those, 3,735 were diagnosed with DVT and pulmonary embolism.
The risk for life-threatening blood clots increased as patients aged, the results showed.
The average annual rate of hospitalized patients diagnosed with VTE (per 100,000 population) was 60 among patients aged 18 to 39 years; 143 for patients aged 40 to 49 years; 200 for patients aged 50 to 59 years; 391 for patients aged 60 to 69 years; 727 for patients aged 70 to 79 years; and 1,134 for patients aged at least 80 years.
The rates were similar for men and women, the researchers said.
Many VTE events can be prevented through administration of prophylaxis — which may include pharmacologic agents or mechanical devices — but researchers said the statistics they compiled suggest “current use of prophylaxis in hospitalized patients might be suboptimal.”
“These findings underscore the need to promote implementation of evidence-based prevention strategies to reduce the number of preventable cases of VTE among hospitalized patients,” Yusuf and colleagues wrote. “Patients should discuss VTE prevention with their health care providers before and during hospitalization and adhere to prescribed therapies, as appropriate.”