Mechanical prophylaxis of venous thromboembolism in ill hospitalized medical patients: evidence and guidelines

Luca Masotti, Roberto Cappelli, Grazia Panigada, Giancarlo Landini, Mario Di Napoli



Venous thromboembolism (VTE) represents one of the leading causes of mortality and morbidity in ill medical patients. Avoiding VTE is therefore of utmost importance in clinical practice. VTE prophylaxis can be assured by pharmacological strategies, such as heparinoids, unfractioned heparin, low molecular weight heparins, fondaparinux or oral anticoagulants and, when these are contraindicated, by mechanical measures, such as graduated compression stockings (GCS) and/ or intermittent pneumatic compression (ICP). However, due to the lack of solid literature evidence, VTE mechanical prophylaxis is not standardized in hospitalized ill medical patients. Much recently, findings from randomized clinical trials on VTE prophylaxis in ill medical patients, such as CLOTS I in patients with stroke and LIFENOX in patients with other kind of medical diseases, seem to increase doubts and reduce certainness in this context and recommendations from guidelines don’t help in reducing confusion. Therefore the aim of this review is to focus on mechanical prophylaxis of VTE in hospitalized ill medical patients.


Venous thromboembolism; Prophylaxis; Graduated compression stockings; Intermittent pneumatic compression; Comorbidity; Internal Medicine

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