Reducing inappropriate use of physical VTE prophylaxis in surgical patients

Purnima Narasimhan
Purnima Narasimhan • 11 October 2023

Setting/Patient Group: District General Hospital

Issue to be addressed:

It was observed that many surgical patients had both anti-embolism stockings (AES) and intermittent pneumatic compression devices (IPC) in place as part of their venous thromboembolism (VTE) prophylaxis, however NICE guidelines recommend using one, not both at the same time. 


  • Baseline audit to quantify inappropriate VTE prophylaxis use.
  • Stakeholder engagement: results presented at departmental clinical governance meeting.
  • Educational posters placed in all anaesthetic rooms.
  • Re-audit following education to measure impact



  • Patient safety improved through better adherence to VTE guidelines


  • Increased staff job satisfaction


  • Estimated carbon savings 265 kgCO2e over 1-month period


  • Estimated cost savings £585 per 100 patients

Key learning point

A project with a primary clinical focus such as adherence to guidelines can reduce environmental waste while improving clinical outcomes and financial savings.

Resource author(s)
Narasimhan, P., Nagaraj, P. and Varadan, R.
Resource publishing organisation(s) or journal
Mid Yorkshire Teaching NHS Trust
Resource publication date
August 2019

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