Preventing life-threatening blood clots in the hospital

Think VTE World Thrombosis DayGuest post by Cindy Asbjornsen, DO, FACPh

Happy World Thrombosis Day! Today, October 13th, healthcare professionals, scientists, and regular folks around the world are spreading the word about how to identify and prevent thromboses, more commonly known as blood clots.

Here’s a quick review of the condition. A blood clot in a deep vein is known as a deep vein thrombosis, or DVT. DVT can be dangerous because the high pressure in the system could cause the clot to break free from the vein wall and enter the blood stream—when that happens the DVT becomes a venous thromboembolism, or VTE. The embolism (a blood clot that has “broken free”) could then travel up through the legs, back to the heart and then to the lungs where it can become lodged inside a pulmonary artery. This is called a pulmonary embolism, or PE, and it can often be fatal. For a more in-depth look, read my post about last year’s World Thrombosis Day.

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This year, the focus of World Thrombosis Day is on preventing VTE in hospitalized patients who are immobile due to bed rest or recovery, or who experience trauma to their blood vessels due to surgery or other serious injury. Did you know that up to 60 percent of all VTE cases occur during or within 90 days of hospitalization?

To learn more about VTE, which medical procedures increase the risk for VTE, or how to reduce your risk, go to www.worldthrombosisday.org.

Being a patient in the hospital is a major risk factor for developing blood clots, so if you or a loved one is planning a hospital stay, “THINK VTE.” Ask your doctor for a VTE risk assessment and talk about steps you can take to prevent blood clots. VTE can be prevented!

Dr. Cindy Asbjornsen is the founder of the Vein Healthcare Center in South Portland, Maine. Certified by the American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine, she cares for all levels of venous disease, including spider veins, varicose veins and venous ulcers.

 

Diane Atwood

About Diane Atwood

For more than 20 years, Diane was the health reporter on WCSH 6. Before that, a radiation therapist at Maine Medical Center and after, Manager of Marketing/PR at Mercy Hospital. Now she writes the award-winning blog Catching Health with Diane Atwood.