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Reducing the risk of venous thromboembolism (deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism) in patients admitted to hospital: summary of the NICE guideline
  1. Jennifer Hill1,
  2. Tom Treasure2 on behalf of the Guideline Development Group
  1. 1National Clinical Guidelines Centre, Royal College of Physicians, London, UK
  2. 2Clinical Operational Research Unit, University College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jennifer Hill, National Clinical Guidelines Centre, Royal College of Physicians, London NW1 4LE, UK; jennifer.hill{at}

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The estimate put to the House of Commons Health Select Committee was that 25 000 people in the UK die from preventable hospital-acquired venous thromboembolism (VTE) every year.1 In addition to those deaths, non-fatal symptomatic VTE and related long-term morbidities are associated with considerable treatment costs to the health service. This was the background which prompted a report from the All-Party committee emphasising the need for action. The National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) published on 26th January 2010 guidance on prevention of VTE for all hospital patients. This was accompanied by a comprehensive implementation plan from the Department of Health, which comes with a set of incentives and penalties to ensure that it is applied to every patient coming into hospital whether as an emergency admission, for surgical or medical treatment or for planned elective surgery. The guidance replaces that published in April 2007.

This guideline clearly sets out recommendations for reducing the risk of VTE for patients in hospital. It updates and expands the 2007 guideline from NICE on reducing the risk of VTE for surgical patients by using the latest clinical and economic data and including sections on prevention for medical patients. The detailed consideration of the evidence for this guideline can be found in the full version (see

Readers of Heart will know the aetiology and clinical manifestations of deep …

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