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Blood Clot Prevention and Treatment

Because hospital patients often have to stay in bed for long periods of time, any patient who is admitted to the hospital is at increased risk of developing a blood clot in the veins (known as venous thromboembolism). Blood clots can break off and travel to other parts of the body and cause serious problems, even death. Fortunately, there are safe, effective, and proven methods to prevent blood clots or to treat them when they occur.

The measures listed below show how well hospitals are providing recommended care known to prevent or treat blood clots and how often blood clots occur that could have been prevented.

Hospital Discharges 7/1/2013 through 6/30/2014

Patients Who Got Treatment To Prevent Blood Clots On The Day of Or Day After Hospital Admission Or Surgery

Billings Clinic 83%
State of Montana Avg 87%
United States Avg 90%

Because hospital patients often have to stay in bed for long periods of time, all patients admitted to the hospital are at increased risk of developing blood clots in their veins (also called venous thromboembolism, or VTE) that can break off and travel to other parts of the body, like the heart, brain, or lung.

Hospitals can prevent blood clots by routinely evaluating patients for their risk of developing blood clots and using appropriate prevention and treatment procedures. Prevention can include compression stockings, blood thinners, and/or other medicines.

This measure shows the percentage of patients who received treatment to prevent blood clots:

  • On the day of or day after arrival at the hospital or
  • One the day of or day after having surgery.

Patients who did not receive treatment may also be included in this measure, if they had paperwork in their chart to explain why. Reasons for not receiving treatment may include having a massive wound, actively bleeding, or having an allergy to blood thinners.

Patients Who Got Treatment To Prevent Blood Clots On The Day of Or Day After Being Admitted To The Intensive Care Unit (ICU)

Billings Clinic 91%
State of Montana Avg 92%
United States Avg 95%

Patients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) are at increased risk for developing blood clots in their veins (venous thromboembolism, or VTE), because they are in bed for a long period of time. These clots can break off and travel to other parts of the body, causing serious harm.

Hospitals can prevent blood clots by routinely evaluating all patients for their risk of developing blood clots and using appropriate prevention and treatment procedures. Prevention can include compression stockings, blood thinners, and/or other medicines.

This measure shows the percentage of ICU patients who received treatment to prevent blood clots:

  • On the day of or day after arrival at the hospital, or
  • On the day of or day after transfer to the ICU, or
  • On the day of or day after having surgery.

Patients who did not receive treatment may also be included in this measure, if they had paperwork in their chart to explain why. Reasons for not receiving treatment may include having a massive wound, actively bleeding, or having an allergy to blood thinners.

Patients Who Developed A Blood Clot While In The Hospital Who Did Not Get Treatment That Could Have Prevented It

Billings Clinic 0%
State of Montana Avg 4%
United States Avg 7%

Because hospital patients often have to stay in bed for long periods of time, all patients admitted to the hospital are at increased risk of developing blood clots in their veins (also called venous thromboembolism or VTE) that can break off and travel to other parts of the body, like the heart, brain, or lung.

Hospitals can prevent blood clots by routinely evaluating patients for their risk of developing blood clots and using appropriate prevention and treatment procedures. Prevention can include compression stockings, blood thinners, and/or other medicines.

This measure shows the percentage of patients who developed blood clots while in the hospital who did not receive preventative treatment beforehand.

Patients With Blood Clots Who Got The Recommended Treatment, Which Includes Using Two Different Blood Thinner Medicines At The Same Time

Billings Clinic 99%
State of Montana Avg 98%
United States Avg 95%

Patients who develop blood clots in their veins (also called venous thromboembolism, or VTE) need to get treatment that can break up the clots quickly and prevent others from forming.

The recommended treatment is to first give a blood thinner that can get into the bloodstream quickly through an IV or injection (heparin), then give a slower-acting oral blood thinner medicine (warfarin), and continue giving both blood thinners for 5 days or until it is safe for the patient to transition off of the IV blood thinner and use only the oral blood thinner medicine.

This measure shows the percentage of hospital patients who had a confirmed diagnosis of blood clot at hospital admission or during their hospital stay, and received both medicines for at least 5 days, or were discharged from the hospital on both kinds of medicine, unless their blood work showed they no longer needed it.

Patients With Blood Clots Who Were Treated With An Intravenous Blood Thinner, and Then Were Checked To Determine If The Blood Thinner Was Putting The Patient At An Increased Risk of Bleeding

Billings Clinic 100%
State of Montana Avg 98%
United States Avg 99%

Patients who have been diagnosed with a blood clot (also called venous thromboembolism, or VTE) are usually treated with a blood thinner such as IV heparin.

Some patients may be prescribed a type of IV heparin called unfractionated heparin. Unfractionated heparin carries a higher risk of increased bleeding than a different type of IV heparin (called low molecular weight heparin). Risk for bleeding increases because blood thinners increase the time it takes your blood to clot. The most common signs of increased bleeding include unusual bruising, nosebleeds, and bleeding gums.

Because of their higher risk of bleeding, patients getting unfractionated heparin should be given regular blood tests to determine if they are at an increased risk of bleeding from getting the medication. This measure shows the percentage of patients who developed a blood clot at admission or during their hospital stay, treated with unfractionated IV heparin who had their blood checked using recommended procedures.

Patients With Blood Clots Who Were Discharged On A Blood Thinner Medicine and Received Written Instructions About That Medicine

Billings Clinic 99%
State of Montana Avg 94%
United States Avg 85%

Patients who develop blood clots (also called venous thromboembolism or VTE) will usually be given blood thinner medicines to take when they leave the hospital.

Educating patients about how to take the medicine and its possible side effects can help prevent problems that could bring them back to the hospital. Before leaving the hospital, patients with a blood clot, who are taking a blood thinner medicine, and their caregiver should receive information about the following topics:

  • Compliance (how to follow medication instructions)
  • Diet (how to eat a healthy diet and avoid foods that interfere with blood thinners)
  • Monitoring their blood thinner medicine
  • Adverse drug reactions (difficulty breathing, vomiting, nausea)
  • When to call your health care provider (dizziness or weakness, a fall, bright red bleeding)

This measure shows the percentage of patients diagnosed with a blood clot (either at admission or during their hospital stay) discharged from the hospital on blood thinners (anticoagulants or anticoagulant therapy or warfarin therapy) who received written educational instructions at hospital discharge.

The percentage includes only patients whose history and condition indicate the treatment is appropriate. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about your treatment.

For more information about heart health, check:

Related Quality Information

For help in making good decisions about your care, compare Billings Clinic to other Health Care Organizations by visiting Hospital Compare or HealthGrades.

Consumer Reports Ranks Hospital Safety. See how Billings Clinic fares in the Nation in the Consumer Reports Article.

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