Prevalence and factors associated with the absence of pharmacologic venous thromboembolism prophylaxis: A cross-sectional study of Georgia intensive care units

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of Critical Care






Anticoagulants; Hemorrhage; Observational study; Prophylaxis; Thrombosis; Venous thromboembolism


Purpose The need for venous thromboembolism prophylaxis is well accepted in the intensive care unit (ICU) and supported by a variety of guideline recommendations. Several studies have highlighted poor adherence to these recommendations, but it is unknown why this discrepancy exists. The aim of this study is assess the prevalence of pharmacoprophylaxis and characterize the practice of withholding prophylaxis. Materials and methods Multicenter, cross-sectional study conducted in adults admitted to a Georgia ICU at participating institutions on March 12, 2014. Data were collected on eligible patients regarding need for and omission of pharmacoprophylaxis. Results Three hundred sixty-four patients across 9 institutions were included in the study. Patients had a mean age of 58 years and a median Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score of 5. Physical activity was completely bedridden or restricted in 87% of the cohort. Forty-five percent of patients were not receiving pharmacoprophylaxis. The most common reasons for withholding prophylaxis were receipt of mechanical prophylaxis, recent surgery or central nervous system bleed, and thrombocytopenia. Over 16% of the cohort was inappropriately not receiving thromboprophylaxis. Patients with an elevated international normalized ratio had lower odds of receiving prophylaxis (0.2). Conclusions Venous thromboembolism prophylaxis is commonly omitted in ICU patients, and reasons for omission vary. An elevated international normalized ratio is associated with withholding of pharmacologic prophylaxis.