Journal of Patient Safety

Skip Navigation LinksHome > June 2011 - Volume 7 - Issue 2 > Are Sequential Compression Devices Commonly Associated With...
Journal of Patient Safety:
doi: 10.1097/PTS.0b013e3182110706
Original Articles

Are Sequential Compression Devices Commonly Associated With In-Hospital Falls? A Myth-Busters Review Using the Patient Safety Net Database

Boelig, Matthew M. MD*; Streiff, Michael B. MD†; Hobson, Deborah B. BSN‡; Kraus, Peggy S. PharmD, CACP§; Pronovost, Peter J. MD, PhD‡∥; Haut, Elliott R. MD, FACS∥¶

Collapse Box


Objectives: Sequential compression devices (SCDs) help prevent deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism in hospitalized patients; however, clinicians often decline to use this therapy because of a perceived increased risk for patient falls. There is limited information regarding the association between the use of SCDs and patient falls. In this study, we analyze if SCD use is a common risk factor for in-hospital falls.

Methods: We used the Patient Safety Net event reporting system at our university-affiliated hospital to retrospectively quantify reports of SCD-related falls over a nearly 5-year period (July 1, 2004, through May 25, 2009). The primary outcome was to determine how often SCD-related falls occurred in relation to SCD patient days. Secondary aims of this study included an assessment of the severity of SCD-related falls, as well as potential risk factors for such falls.

Results: Three thousand five hundred sixty-two total falls were reported during our study period, 16 of which (0.45%) were SCD-related falls. There were 0.063 SCD-related falls per 1000 SCD patient days or 1 fall for every 15,774 SCD patient days. The mean age of patients was 57.8 ± 14.4 years, 69% were male subjects, 81% were on a surgical ward, and 69% occurred while attempting to toilet. Only 2 of the SCD-related falls caused temporary harm that required intervention.

Conclusions: Sequential compression device use is rarely associated with in-hospital patient falls, and SCD-related falls are not more harmful than other types of falls.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.


Article Tools


Article Level Metrics

Search for Similar Articles
You may search for similar articles that contain these same keywords or you may modify the keyword list to augment your search.