RCEM Report Reveals Emergency Departments Need to Improve VTE Risk Assessments

More needs to be done to minimise the risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in patients with lower limb injuries who are discharged from Emergency Departments (EDs) after being put in a plaster cast, according to a new report.

Royal College of Emergency Medicine

An audit by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine shows that over 72% of patients are not being risk assessed for VTE prior to discharge.

VTE is the formation of blood clots in the vein. When a clot forms in a deep vein, usually in the leg, it is called a deep vein thrombosis or DVT. If that clot breaks loose and travels to the lungs, it is called a pulmonary embolism or PE. Collectively these are known as VTE and can be life threatening if not treated quickly.

Patients who are treated for lower limb injuries and put into plaster casts are at significant risk of developing the condition.

Based on recommendations published by the College in June 2015, a total of 9916 adults presenting to 167 Emergency Departments (EDs) were included in the audit.

The College recommends that there should be written evidence of the patient receiving or being referred for treatment, and that there is evidence that a patient has been provided with an information leaflet on VTE.

However the report found that: