Researchers have found that slightly more than half of hospitalizations for venous thromboembolism were preceded by an infection. Mary Rogers, PhD, a researcher from the University of Michigan, led the study of older adults. She found that after adjusting for other factors, there was an association between infection and nearly three times the risk of hospitalization for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism. The study focused on older adults.
“When nursing home administrators are dealing with a patient who has an infection, they should consider discussing venous compression with the doctor,” said Greg Grambor, president of Vascular PRN, a provider of venous compression equipment. “Venous compression is essential for treating and preventing DVT.”
Blood transfusions are another important, though less common, predictor of the need for hospitalization for venous clots, according to the study, published on the website of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. Meanwhile, using erythropoiesis-stimulating agents was almost statistically significant as a risk factor.
Rogers and her colleagues noted that many risk assessment tools do not include infection, and venous thromboembolism risk algorithms should be updated to include the factors identified in the study.
The researchers studied patients 51 and older participating in a Health and Retirement study, linking data from Medicare files, outpatient visits, emergency room stays, and home health care visits, covering a period from 1991 through 2007.
The database linked to 16,781 patients, 399 of whom were hospitalized for the first time for a pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis. The majority of the patients were female and white, with a mean age of 76.
Researchers looked at the period of 90 days before the hospitalization, compared to earlier periods of 90 days, to compare what factors were present as a possible trigger for a hospitalization due to venous thromboembolism. Infections, particularly respiratory tract infections, were more prevalent during the pre-hospitalization period than during the control periods. The association was significant, regardless of whether there had been a previous stay in a nursing facility or hospital.
The researchers took note that there is a well-described biological connection between the inflammation caused by infection, and coagulation of the blood.
Other significant predictors of a hospital stay for venous thromboembolism include chemotherapy, major operations, fractures, and immobility defined by any nursing facilty stay or nonsurgical hospitalization.
To learn more about frequently asked questions regarding DVT, and view the PolyGel portable device, Sequential Compression Devices, or IPC devices, visit http://www.vascularprn.com/or call 800.886.4331. Vascular PRN has decades of experience helping nursing homes, surgery centers and hospitals, managed care organizations, and other institutions with their DVT product needs.