The Autar scale is a successful tool for identifying orthopedic surgery patients at risk for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) – and can prevent DVT when patients follow prophylactic measures corresponding with their DVT risk level, according to researchers.

The study comprised 216 patients who were undergoing orthopedic surgery to the lower extremities in Henan, China. They were divided into a control group and an intervention group, consisting of 106 and 110 patients, respectively. Researchers used the Autar scale to assess the risk of a DVT occurring in all of the patients.

The scale is used mainly for evaluating the probability of DVT in a hospitalized patient undergoing surgery. It includes seven risk categories and 41 items, and is used to assign scores to patients indicating whether they are at no, low, moderate, or high risk of DVT.

Specific preventive measures were implemented among the intervention group’s members based on the Autar scale scores of each of these patients. The scores of patients in the control group were not used to implement DVT prophylaxis. Such patients, however, did receive routine nursing and mechanical and pharmacological prophylactic measures, if clinical experience and basic information caused their health care providers to identify them as being at high risk for DVT.

The Autar scale’s efficacy was confirmed by the fact that “the number of patients with DVT was in line with the number of high-risk patients in both groups,” according to Hui-Zhen Yin and Professor Ci-Ming Shan of Zhengzhou (China) University.

The numbers of DVTs that occurred in each group were significantly different from each other; 1.82% of patients in the intervention group got DVTs, compared to 9.43% of patients in the control group. Therefore, the study showed that the Autar scale is useful not only for predicting DVT, but also for preventing its incidence when patients receive the appropriate prophylactic and nursing interventions, the researchers noted.

They recommend wide use of the scale, because they believe it is “a comprehensive and valid instrument that improves the consistency of nursing assessment and creates a reference for preventing DVT in nursing practice.”

Read the full study in International Journal of Nursing Sciences ( doi:10.1016/j.ijnss.2015.04.003 ).


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