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Introduction

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Deep venous thrombosis (DVT) is a common problem in the ICU. Preventative measures include pharmaceutical and physical measures, the latter of which will be covered in this chapter.

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Definitions and Terms

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  • ▪  DVT: Thrombosis in the deep veins of the legs

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Techniques

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  • ▪  Sequential compression devices are applied to the calf or calves in bed-bound critically ill patients (Figure 51-1).

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Figure 51-1.
Graphic Jump Location

Sequential compression devices applied to both ankles.

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Clinical Pearls and Pitfalls

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  • ▪  There is some evidence suggesting that sequential compression devices have antithrombotic effects by acting to inhibit the clotting cascade, so that a single sticking may be worn if there is a contraindication to placement on one leg (ie, vascular surgery).

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Suggested Reading

Ramos J, Perrotta C, Badariotti G, Berenstein G. Interventions for preventing venous thromboembolism in adults undergoing knee arthroscopy. Cochrane Database of Syst Rev. 2007;(2):CD005259.
Brady D, Raingruber B, Peterson J, et al. The use of knee-length versus thigh-length compression stockings and sequential compression devices. Crit Care Nurs Q. 2007;30:255–262.  [PubMed: 17579309]

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