World Thrombosis Day - VTE, a fatal but preventable medical condition

 

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VTE-related events kill more people than breast cancer, prostate cancer, AIDS and motor vehicle crashes together¹.

The 13th of October 2017 represents World Thrombosis Day (WTD), marking the 4th WTD since the initiative was first established in 2014.

The aim of WTD is to increase global awareness of thrombosis including Venous Thromboembolism (VTE), a dangerous and potentially deadly medical condition in which blood clots form (most often) in the deep veins of the leg (known as deep vein thrombosis, DVT) and can travel in the circulation and lodge in the lungs (known as pulmonary embolism, PE). Together, DVT and PE make up venous thromboembolism (VTE)2.

There are 10 million cases of VTE reported worldwide every year3, yet, VTE-related death is a largely undocumented, but preventable medical condition.

VTE can happen to anyone regardless of age and gender, and one purpose of WTD is to create an understanding of the risk factors and situations that can result in a fatal blood clot. According to WTD some of the risk factors are:

  • Being in the hospital for an extended period of time
  • Not moving for long periods such as prolonged bed rest
  • Age 60+
  • Having a history of blood clots in the family
  • Cancer/chemotherapy
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy or recent birth
  • Smoking, alcohol use
  • Estrogen-based medication

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Patient immobility is common and often unavoidable in the hospital setting. VTE is the leading preventable cause of hospital death, with up to 60% of all VTE cases happening during or within 90 days in hospital³. 

Additional treatments, longer hospital stays and recurring VTE are factors that contribute to the extensive cost of VTE. For example, this condition costs the National Health Service (NHS) £640 million per year in the U.K.⁴ In the U.S. diagnosis and treatment of VTE costs $15.5 billion per year⁵. 

The risks associated with VTE and methods to help prevent the condition should be considered by hospitals and other healthcare facilities.  Preventing VTE will not only decrease the financial burden and save lives, but also increase comfort and well-being for patients.

For more on VTE prevention and product solutions, including clinical guidelines, patient and carer information, clinical FAQ’s and education, please visit our knowledge section dedicated to Vascular Therapy:

 

Visit Our Vascular Therapy Knowledge Section

 

For more information and events near you visit worldthrombosisday.org

Follow #WTDay2017 #KnowThrombosis and #KeepLifeFlowing on social media.

 

References

1.Cohen AT, Agnelli G, Anderson FA, et al. Venous thromboembolism (VTE) in Europe. Thromb Haemost. 2007; 98:756-764.

2. http://www.worldthrombosisday.org. Accessed October 2017.

3. Jha AK, Larizgoitia I, Audera-Lopez C, Prasopa-Plaisier N, Waters H, Bates DW. The global burden of unsafe medical care: analytic modeling of observational studies. BMJ Qual Saf 2013; 22;809-15. Retrieved from: http://qualitysafety.bmj.com/content/22/10/809.

4. House of Commons Health Committee Report on the Prevention of Venous Thromboembolism in Hospitalised Patients. https://publications.parliment.uk/pa/cm200405/cmselect/cmhealth/99/99.pdf

5. Medscape. Medscape General Medicine. 2004:6(3)5.