Trends in the development of DVT and pulmonary embolism (PE) occurring within the hospital and trends in admissions because of a principal diagnosis of DVT and PE are not known. Knowledge of such trends would be useful in assessing the effectiveness of antithrombotic prophylaxis in hospitalized patients who are at high risk.
The numbers of patients hospitalized with a principal diagnosis of DVT and a principal diagnosis of PE and incidences of these conditions occurring as a secondary diagnosis during hospitalization of patients in short-stay hospitals in the United States from 1979 through 2006 were obtained from the National Hospital Discharge Survey.
From 1989 through 2006, instances of secondary (in-hospital) DVT increased 3.1 times from 35 per 100,000 population to 107 per 100,000 population (P < .0001). During this same time period, hospitalizations of patients for an admitting diagnosis of DVT remained unchanged. From 1992 through 2006, the incidence of PE in hospitalized patients increased 2.5 times, from 33 per 100,000 population to 83 per 100,000 population, but in contrast to DVT, the increase was the result of an increase in PE as a principal diagnosis (from 18 per 100,000 population to 49 per 100,000 population). The incidence of a secondary diagnosis of PE increased at a lower rate.
Efforts to prevent DVT in hospitalized patients who are at high risk appear to be inadequate. Therapy for DVT, however, appears to be effective.