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The first national standard of care for venous thromboembolism (VTE) has been released ahead of World Thrombosis Day on Saturday 13 October.

The Venous Thromboembolism Prevention Clinical Care Standard was developed by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission).

The standard translates international guidelines and evidence into clinical practice to reduce avoidable death or disability caused by hospital-acquired VTE.

Each year 30,000 Australians develop VTE; and an estimated 5,000 die from hospital-acquired VTE.

While up to 60% of all VTE cases in Australia occur within 90 days of hospitalisation, intervention is estimated to reduce the incidence of VTE by up to 70%.

Clinical Director at the Commission Associate Professor Amanda Walker said an Australian report found that fewer than half (44%) of clinical units surveyed assessed patients for their risk of developing VTE on admission to hospital.

“Of those who were assessed to be at risk, not all were offered VTE prevention.

“We can do better and the new standard aims to support clinicians and health services to deliver quality care to prevent blood clots in hospital and following discharge.”

Appropriate VTE prevention was arguably the top intervention hospitals could make to improve patient safety, Associate Professor Walker said.

The new standard would help close the gap between guideline recommendations and practice and procedures in the hospital setting, The Alfred Hospital’s Head of Haemostasis and Thrombosis Unit Associate Professor Huyen Tran said.

“It’s clear that we can reduce the rate of blood clots significantly through timely assessments that are documented and discussed with the patient, and appropriate use of prevention methods such as medicine, during and after discharge from hospital.

“It is shocking to consider that patients who have been admitted to hospital are at 100 times greater risk of developing a blood clot. This is a little known killer but one of the biggest preventable health threats facing Australians.”

Facts sheets on the new standard can be found on the Commission’s website: