Better Education on VTE Prevention Is Needed

By Michael Wong

(For a complete copy of the article and references, please see the post on Ob/

As blood clots continue to be a leading cause of maternal death in the US, a new study of expectant mothers underscores the need for improved awareness among caregivers about how to best protect their patients from clots before delivery.

The Saint Louis University School of Medicine recently conducted, “A Comparison of Sequential Compression Device Compliance in an Antepartum Population,” to evaluate compliance for two types of sequential compression devices (SCDs) – foot cuffs and leg sleeves –in the prevention of VTE  in antepartum (prior to childbirth) patients.

Although the study found that overall “SCD compliance was poor”, as Thinh P. Nguyen, MD, who led the Saint Louis University study points out, “Compliance with foot pump SCDs was greater than with leg cuff SCDs in the high acuity fetal monitoring unit, which suggests that patients may find foot pump SCDs to be easier to use.”

Moreover, concludes Dr. Nguyen, the study demonstrates the need for better awareness and education about how VTE can be prevented, managed and treated during pregnancy.

“Considering that VTE is the leading cause of maternal morbidity in the nation, it was disheartening when our study found overall SCD compliance to be poor,” Dr. Nguyen said.   “As recent recommendations issued by ACOG advise, SCDs are a low cost and effective preventive intervention. Clearly, there’s a need for improved attention about VTE intervention and the role of SCDs in that intervention not only among healthcare professionals but among the general public and particularly expectant mothers.”

The study was presented at the ACOG 61st Annual Clinical Meeting (May 2013).

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