Patient Care

Caprini Risk Assessment Tool Can Distinguish High Risk of VTE in Critically Ill Surgical Patients


Clinical question: Is the Caprini Risk Assessment Model for VTE risk valid in critically ill surgical patients?

Background: Critically ill surgical patients are at increased risk of developing VTE. Chemoprophylaxis decreases VTE risk, but benefits must be balanced against bleeding risk. Rapid and accurate risk stratification supports decisions about prophylaxis; however, data regarding appropriate risk stratification are limited.

Study design: Retrospective, cohort study.

Setting: Surgical ICU (SICU) at a single, U.S. academic medical center, 2007-2013.

Synopsis: Among 4,844 consecutive admissions, the in-hospital VTE rate was 7.5% (364). Using a previously validated, computer-generated, retrospective risk score based on the 2005 Caprini model, patients were most commonly at moderate risk for VTE upon ICU admission (32%). Fifteen percent (723) were extremely high risk. VTE incidence increased linearly with increasing Caprini scores. Data were abstracted from multiple electronic sources.

Younger age, recent sepsis or pneumonia, central venous access on ICU admission, personal VTE history, and operative procedure were significantly associated with inpatient VTE events. The proportion of patients who received chemoprophylaxis postoperatively was similar regardless of VTE risk. Patients at higher risk were more likely to receive chemoprophylaxis preoperatively.

Results from this retrospective, single-center study suggest that Caprini is a valid tool to predict inpatient VTE risk in this population. Inclusion of multiple risk factors may make calculation of this score prohibitive in other settings unless it can be computer generated.

Bottom line: Caprini risk scores accurately distinguish critically ill surgical patients at high risk of VTE from those at lower risk.

Citation: Obi AT, Pannucci CJ, Nackashi A, et al. Validation of the Caprini venous thromboembolism risk assessment model in critically ill surgical patients. JAMA Surg. 2015;150(10):941-948. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2015.1841.

Short Takes


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Citation: Kangovi S, Cafardi SG, Smith RA, Kulkarni R, Grande D. Patient financial responsibility for observation care. J Hosp Med. 2015;10(11):718-723. doi: 10.1002/jhm.2436.


This observational trial involving 319 patients shows that interrupting chest compressions for any duration, at any time during resuscitation in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, reduces survival (odds ratios 0.83-0.89).

Citation: Brouwer TF, Walker RG, Chapman FW, Koster RW. Association between chest compression interruptions and clinical outcomes of ventricular fibrillation out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Circulation. 2015;132(11):1030-1037.


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Citation: Chou R, Hashimoto R, Friedly J, et al. Epidural corticosteroid injections for radiculopathy and spinal stenosis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Ann Intern Med. 2015;163(5):373-381.


In August 2015, the FDA released a warning regarding the potential side effect of severe arthralgias cause by DPP-4 inhibitors such as sitagliptin, saxagliptin, linagliptin, and alogliptin.

Citation: U.S. Food and Drug Administration. DPP-4 inhibitors for type 2 diabetes: drug safety communication – may cause severe joint pain. Aug 28, 2015. Accessed November 5, 2015.

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