Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) prevention

The CEC VTE Prevention Program aims to reduce the incidence of hospital related VTE by ensuring that all patients are assessed for VTE risk and given appropriate prophylaxis. The program provides local health districts, individual facilities and clinicians with the tools and resources required to address this patient safety issue, as well as the support and advice required to implement the elements into workflow. The VTE Prevention program is a component of CEC's Medication Safety and Quality program.

VTE Prevention Program - Overview

YouTube video (high resolution). Length: 2:49 minutes

Sometimes blood can pool and thicken inside normal, healthy veins and block the flow of blood through the body. This is known as a blood clot, or medically as a Venous Thromboembolism (VTE). It includes blood clots that form in the deep veins, known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and clots that become lodged in the lungs, known as a pulmonary embolism (PE).

VTE is one of the leading causes of preventable death in Australia. It causes more deaths than breast cancer, bowel cancer or road traffic accidents. Approximately 14,000 Australians develop a VTE each year. Around 5,000 of these cases result in death1. Hospitalisation is strongly associated with the development of VTEs - the majority of which are preventable. Effective prevention is achieved through assessment of risk factors and the provision of appropriate prophylaxis.


  1. Access Economics. The burden of venous thromboembolism in Australia: Report by Access Economics Pty Limited for The Australia and New Zealand Working Party on the Management and Prevention of Venous Thromboembolism, May 2008. Accessed 1 April 2014.

A VTE Prevention framework has been developed and covers six key areas:

  1. Patients at risk of VTE are identified
  2. VTE Risk is assessed and documented
  3. Appropriate prophylaxis is prescribed
  4. The patient is engaged in their care
  5. Risk is regularly reassessed
  6. Hospitals monitor performance and strive to improve processes.

The CEC has created a quality improvement toolkit for VTE Prevention. This toolkit provides step-by-step guidance to help you to identify where your local practice can be improved and how to implement lasting changes to improve VTE outcomes. Refer to CEC VTE Prevention toolkit for more details.