High incidence of patients lost to follow-up after venous thromboembolism diagnosis – Identifying an unmet need for targeted transition of care

Link to article at PubMed

Vascular. 2021 Jun 3:17085381211020969. doi: 10.1177/17085381211020969. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVES: Venous thromboembolism, including deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, is a major source of morbidity, mortality, and healthcare utilization. Given the prevalence of venous thromboembolism and its associated mortality, our study sought to identify factors associated with loss to follow-up in venous thromboembolism patients.

METHODS: This is a single-center retrospective study of all consecutive admitted (inpatient) and emergency department patients diagnosed with acute venous thromboembolism via venous duplex examination and/or chest computed tomography from January 2018 to March 2019. Patients with chronic deep venous thrombosis and those diagnosed in the outpatient setting were excluded. Lost to venous thromboembolism-specific follow-up (LTFU) was defined as patients who did not follow up with vascular, cardiology, hematology, oncology, pulmonology, or primary care clinic for venous thromboembolism management at our institution within three months of initial discharge. Patients discharged to hospice or dead within 30 days of initial discharge were excluded from LTFU analysis. Statistical analysis was performed using STATA 16 (College Station, TX: StataCorp LLC) with a p-value of <0.05 set for significance.

RESULTS: During the study period, 291 isolated deep venous thrombosis, 25 isolated pulmonary embolism, and 54 pulmonary embolism with associated deep venous thrombosis were identified in 370 patients. Of these patients, 129 (35%) were diagnosed in the emergency department and 241 (65%) in the inpatient setting. At discharge, 289 (78%) were on anticoagulation, 66 (18%) were not, and 15 (4%) were deceased. At the conclusion of the study, 120 patients (38%) had been LTFU, 85% of whom were discharged on anticoagulation. There was no statistically significant difference between those LTFU and those with follow-up with respect to age, gender, diagnosis time of day, venous thromboembolism anatomic location, discharge unit location, or anticoagulation choice at discharge. There was a non-significant trend toward longer inpatient length of stay among patients LTFU (16.2 days vs. 12.3 days, p = 0.07), and a significant increase in the proportion of LTFU patients discharged to a facility rather than home (p = 0.02). On multivariate analysis, we found a 95% increase in the odds of being lost to venous thromboembolism-specific follow-up if discharged to a facility (OR 1.95, CI 1.1-3.6, p = 0.03) as opposed to home.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study demonstrates that over one-third of patients diagnosed with venous thromboembolism at our institution are lost to venous thromboembolism-specific follow-up, particularly those discharged to a facility. Our work suggests that significant improvement could be achieved by establishing a pathway for the targeted transition of care to a venous thromboembolism-specific follow-up clinic.

PMID:34080914 | DOI:10.1177/17085381211020969

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