Critically III patients have multiple risk factors for deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. The majority of patients with pulmonary embolism have a lower extremity deep vein thrombosis as a source of origin. Pulmonary embolism causes a high mortality rate in the hemodynamically compromised individual. Awareness of risk factors relative to the development of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism is important for the critical care nurse. Understanding the pathophysiology can help guide prophylaxis and treatment plans. The therapies, from invasive to mechanical, all carry risks and benefits, and are weighed for each patient. The advanced practice nurse, whether in the direct or indirect role, has an opportunity to impact the care of the high risk patient. Options range from teaching the nurse who is new to critical care, to teaching patients and families. Development of multidisciplinary protocols and clinical pathways are ways to impact the standard of care. Improved delivery of care methods can optimize the care rendered in an ever changing field of critical care

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