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Interim bulletin released relating to the management of VTE risk in patients following thrombolysis for an acute stroke

by Communications team

We have released an interim bulletin relating to the management of Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) risk in patients following thrombolysis for an acute stroke.

Interim bulletins are released to share further details for each investigation, including how it’s met HSIB criteria, the history of the event it relates to, the national context and any identified safety issues.

National context

Every year in the UK over 100,000 people have a stroke, with 95% of them admitted to hospital. It is the fourth most common cause of death in the UK.

A major clinical trial (CLOTS3) in 2013 recommended methods for managing patients at risk of VTE who have received thrombolysis, which led to national guidelines being created.

Identified safety issues

If a patient has suffered an acute stroke, they are at increased risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT) due to immobility, which may result in a pulmonary embolism (PE). HSIB identified the management of VTE for patients that have suffered an ischaemic stroke and received thrombolysis as a significant patient safety risk.

During our scoping investigation it was identified that there is no proactive, stroke-specific, VTE risk management programme to monitor risk assessments and no check that the risk assessment requirements and recommendations have been undertaken.


Our investigation will continue to explore the identified safety issues and welcomes further information that may be relevant, regardless of source. 

We’ll report any significant developments as the investigation progresses.

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