Venous thromboembolism is a potentially dangerous condition that can lead to preventable morbidity and mortality among surgical patients. This article aimed to determine the knowledge and practice of surgeons practising in Tertiary Hospitals in Nigeria about prophylaxis of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Eight Tertiary Institutions were selected from institutions in the geopolitical regions of the country by simple random sampling using balloting method. A semi-structured questionnaire was administered, and the response was obtained from 105 out of 254 surgeons. The mean knowledge score was 5.81 ± 1.67, and only 33.3% have good knowledge about DVT prophylaxis. No statistical difference was observed between the different groups of surgeons. The mean practice score was 5.19 ± 1.8 and only 20% of surgeons have a good practice of DVT prophylaxis. The majority (90.5%) have encountered DVT whereas 83.5% have encountered pulmonary embolism in their practice. Most commonly encountered risk factors include prolonged immobility, advanced age, and pelvic surgery. Only 13.3% have used Well’s score in the clinical evaluation of their patients. The prophylactic modality adopted varies, but most surgeons (77%) utilized both the pharmacological and mechanical methods. Low molecular weight heparin is the commonly used chemoprophylactic agent while a combination of early ambulation and limb physiotherapy is the most commonly preferred mechanical method of thromboprophylaxis.
There is a deficiency in the knowledge and practice of DVT prophylaxis among surgeons in Nigeria. There is a need to improve both the knowledge and practice by introducing institutional guidelines or protocol for DVT prophylaxis for surgical patients.