European Stroke Organisation (ESO) guidelines for prophylaxis for venous thromboembolism in immobile patients with acute ischaemic stroke

For the European Stroke Organisation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

BACKGROUND: Venous thromboembolism (VTE) including deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism is a frequent complication in immobile patients with acute ischemic stroke. This guideline document presents the European Stroke Organisation guidelines for the prophylaxis of VTE in immobile patients with acute ischaemic stroke. Guidelines for haemorrhagic stroke have already been published.

METHODS: A multidisciplinary group identified related questions and developed its recommendations based on evidence from randomised controlled trials using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation approach. This guideline document was reviewed within the European Stroke Organisation and externally and was approved by the European Stroke Organisation Guidelines Committee and the European Stroke Organisation Executive Committee.

RESULTS: We found mainly moderate quality evidence comprising randomised controlled trials and systematic reviews evaluating graduated compression stockings (GCS), intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) and prophylactic anticoagulation with unfractionated (UFH) and low molecular weight heparins (LMWH) and heparinoids, but no randomised trials evaluating neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NES). We recommend that clinicians should use IPC in immobile patients, but that they should not use GCS. Prophylactic anticoagulation with UFH (5000U ×2, or ×3 daily) or LMWH or heparinoid should be considered in immobile patients with ischaemic stroke in whom the benefits of reducing the risk of VTE is high enough to offset the increased risks of intracranial and extracranial bleeding associated with their use. Where a judgement has been made that prophylactic anticoagulation is indicated LMWH or heparinoid should be considered instead of UFH because of its greater reduction in risk of DVT, the greater convenience, reduced staff costs and patient comfort associated single vs. multiple daily injections but these advantages should be weighed against the higher risk of extracranial bleeding, higher drug costs and risks in elderly patients with poor renal function associated with LMWH and heparinoids.

CONCLUSIONS: IPC, UFH or LMWH and heparinoids can reduce the risk of VTE in immobile patients with acute ischaemic stroke but further research is required to test whether NES is effective. The strongest evidence is for IPC. Better methods are needed to help stratify patients in the first few weeks after stroke onset, by their risk of VTE and their risk of bleeding on anticoagulants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-19
JournalEuropean Stroke Journal
Volume1
Issue number1
Early online date1 Mar 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016

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