Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is an overarching term applied to either deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism. VTE is considered to be the third most common cardiovascular disorder after coronary heart disease and stroke. An estimated 900 000 cases of VTE occur each year in the United States, and upwards of 60% of cases occur in hospitals or nursing homes. Quite often, VTE develops within the hospital in association with central venous catheters, surgery, or immobilization. Evidence suggests that hospitalized patients have a 100-fold greater incidence of acute VTE than do patients who are not in the hospital.

Considering the additional risks for VTE among patients within the acute care environment, members of the health care team should be familiar with identifying manifestations of VTE as well as its proper management. In recent years, novel anticoagulant drugs have expanded the...

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