Patient Care

VTEP Guidelines Can Be Systematically Implemented in Pediatric Inpatients


Clinical question: Can venous thromboembolism prophylaxis (VTEP) guidelines be systematically implemented in a pediatric inpatient population?

Background: VTEP for hospitalized adult medical patients has been characterized in the literature as being safe and efficacious, although mortality benefits are unclear.1 Systematic risk stratification based on electronic medical records (EMRs) with resultant implementation of pharmacologic and mechanical thromboprophylaxis has been shown to improve appropriate VTEP ordering in the adult inpatient population.2

Although the incidence of VTE is known to be increasing in the pediatric population, systematic VTEP implementation in hospitalized children is not well-described. Prior studies have shown the safety of systematic VTEP implementation through a protocol identifying high-risk pediatric inpatients with resultant initiation of appropriate VTEP. 3,4

Risk stratification in prior studies has taken into consideration risk factors such as altered mobility, presence of a central venous catheter (CVC), spinal cord injury (SCI), major lower-extremity orthopedic surgery, major trauma, active malignancy, acute infection, obesity, estrogen use, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), prior VTE, and family history of VTE.4

Study design: Prospective cohort study using QI methodology.

Setting: A 455-bed, tertiary, freestanding children’s hospital.

Synopsis: After reviewing current literature for VTEP in adults and children and existing institutional pathways for VTEP in adults, traumatic brain injury, and SCI, a multidisciplinary committee formulated VTEP guidelines for 12- to 17-year-old patients. Pharmacologic prophylaxis was considered appropriate in the absence of contraindications and only if CVC and altered mobility were present as risk factors. Using a previously published logistic regression model evaluating VTE risk factors, patients were further categorized as high, moderate, or low risk.

Initial risk-factor categorization was via EMR-based order set, where risk factors were displayed, but subsequently was performed by an integrated tool based on an initial screening form completed by providers upon admission. Logic rules applied by the EMR led to specific VTEP recommendations, which were then selectable by the provider.

Over the first 17 months of EMR tool use, 148 patients on average were admitted each month. VTEP screening rates via the EMR tool increased from 48% in the first month to 81% in the final month. Despite EMR tool usage, VTEP orders did not always correlate with recommendations. Although not a stated objective of the study, none of the screened patients developed a VTE (compared to three cases of VTE in patients between 12 and 17 years of age the year prior).

Bottom line: VTEP guidelines can be systematically implemented via an EMR-based tool in a pediatric inpatient population.

Citation: Mahajerin A, Webber E, Morris J, Taylor K, Saysana M. Development and implementation results of a venous thromboembolism prophylaxis guideline in a tertiary care pediatric hospital. Hosp Pediatr. 2015;5(12):630-636.


  1. Spyropoulos AC, Mahan C. Venous thromboembolism prophylaxis in the medical patient: controversies and perspectives. Am J Med. 2009;122(12):1077-1084.
  2. Kahn SR, Morrison DR, Cohen JM, et al. Interventions for implementation of thromboprophylaxis in hospitalized medical and surgical patients at risk for venous thromboembolism. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013;7:CD008201.
  3. Takemoto CM, Sohi S, Desai K, et al. Hospital-associated venous thromboembolism in children: incidence and clinical characteristics. J Pediatr. 2014;164(2):332-338.
  4. Raffini L, Trimarchi T, Beliveau J, Davis D. Thromboprophylaxis in a pediatric hospital: a patient-safety and quality-improvement initiative. Pediatrics. 2011;127(5):e1326-1332.

Dr. Chang is pediatric editor of The Hospitalist. He is associate clinical professor of medicine and pediatrics at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine, and a hospitalist at both UCSD Medical Center and Rady Children’s Hospital. Send comments and questions to [email protected].

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