Venous Thromboembolism Assessment Model (VTEAM) study

The cost-effectiveness of venous thromboembolism risk assessment tools for hospital inpatients.


This study aims to work out which people in hospital should be given medication to prevent blood clots.

Background to the research

People who are admitted to hospital are at risk of blood clots that can cause serious illness or death. Small doses of blood thinning drugs (known as anticoagulants) can reduce the risk of blood clots but with a slightly increased risk of bleeding complications.

Tight stockings (known as anti-embolic stockings) and using balloons to squeeze the legs (known as intermittent pneumatic compression) can also help reduce the risk of blood clots.

When these treatments are given as a preventative measure, it is known as prophylaxis. Providing prophylaxis to people in hospital costs the NHS a lot of money.

Risk-assessment tools can be used to determine each patient’s risk of suffering a blood clot on the basis of factors, such as their age or previous illnesses.

Risk-assessment tools could be used to target prophylaxis at higher risk patients who are most likely to benefit but we don’t know how this approach compares to giving prophylaxis to everybody or giving it to nobody.

We also don’t know how high the risk should be before we recommend prophylaxis on the basis of risk-assessment.

The VTEAM study

We will review all previous studies of risk-assessment tools to determine how well they predict the risk of blood clots. We will then create a mathematical model to simulate the preventative treatment of people who are admitted to hospital.

The model will compare different strategies for providing prophylaxis, including giving it to everybody, giving it to nobody and giving it to people if the risk assessment tool predicts a high risk.

We will use the findings of previous studies to predict which patients in the model will develop blood clots or bleeding.

We will also calculate the costs involved, if it is cost-effective to use a risk-assessment tool to provide prophylaxis, we will need to determine whether it can be successfully used in the NHS.

This evaluation will require us to collect data from a large number of patients without wasting staff time.

We therefore plan to test efficient ways of collecting data that will allow us to evaluate risk-assessment tools without disrupting patient care or taking up staff time.

We will do this by testing our data collection methods at two NHS hospitals.

Study update

This study is currently in recruitment. 

Project team

Name Role Organisation Contact
Prof Steve Goodacre Chief Investigator University of Sheffield
Dr Daniel Horner Co-Chief Investigator Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust
Ben Thomas Study Manager University of Sheffield
Abdullah Pandor Systematic Review Lead University of Sheffield
Sara Davis Health Economic Modelling University of Sheffield
Dr Daniel Hind Assistant Director, CTRU University of Sheffield
Mike Bradburn Senior Medical Statistician University of Sheffield
Prof Beverley Hunt Co-Applicant (Haematology) Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust
Associate Prof Xavier Griffin Co-Applicant (Orthopaedic) University of Oxford
Dr Mark Holland Co-Applicant (Acute Medicine) Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust
Associate Prof Kerstin Hogg Co-Applicant (Thrombosis) McMaster University
Shan Bennet PPI Representative Sheffield Emergency Care Forum  
Robin Pierce-Williams PPI Representative Thrombosis UK  
Heather Dakin Trials Support Officer The University of Sheffield

Funder and sponsor

This project is funded by the National Institute for Health Research, Health Technology Assessment (NIHR HTA) Programme (project number NIHR127454).

The sponsor is The University of Sheffield.

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