Safety syringes can reduce the risk of needlestick injury in venous thromboembolism prophylaxis.
Patients undergoing major orthopaedic surgery of the lower extremities are at high risk of developing venous thromboembolism (VTE). Pharmacologic thromboprophylaxis has greatly reduced the likelihood of VTE. The most effective medications are administered once or twice daily by subcutaneous injection, a drug delivery route associated with an increased risk of needlestick injury. Awareness of the potential lethality of needlestick injuries has increased during the past decade, resulting in the development of national safety guidelines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration on the handling and management of needles and other sharps. This article reviews the potential risks and costs associated with needlestick injury during the administration of VTE prophylaxis in patients un dergoing major orthopaedic surgery. The development of novel anticoagulants and accompanying devices to prevent needlestick injury is also discussed.