American Hospital Association
Health Research & Educational Trust

Venous Thromboembolism (VTE)


Hospital-associated VTEs, including pulmonary emboli, are the most common causes of preventable hospital death. In the U.S., an estimated 350,000 to 900,000 individuals develop VTE each year and approximately 100,000 die from this condition (Rathbun, 2009). Between ages 50 and 80, the mortality rate for pulmonary embolism more than doubles (Silverstein et al., 1998). Alongside severe mortality rates, VTE can cause long-term, chronic morbidities and up to 40 percent of patients may suffer a recurrent event within 10 years after the initial diagnosis (Prandoni, 2007). Listen to Paul’s story to learn more about the impact of a hospital-associated venous thromboembolism.

The risk for VTE is nearly universal among inpatients. Fortunately, pharmacologic and mechanical methods to prevent VTE are safe, cost-effective and supported by evidence-based research. However, despite the risk factors present in almost all hospitalized medical and surgical patients, large prospective studies continue to demonstrate the significant underutilization of these preventive measures (Cohen et al., 2008; Kahn et al., 2007). The American Public Health Association has stated that the “disconnect between evidence and execution as it relates to DVT [deep vein thrombosis] prevention amounts to a public health crisis" (APHA, 2003).


From 2011 to 2014, the AHA/HRET HEN prevented an estimated 3,255 VTEs with an estimated cost savings of over $72 million.


20 percent reduction in Venous Thromboembolism Events by 2019.

Partnership for Patients (PfP) Goal


To achieve this goal, we encourage you to use the resources available through this website to support your VTE improvement efforts. You should find the VTE outcome measure and improvement strategies customized to your role in the hospital below.