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Hospital Blood Clots – VTE is the collective term for DVT

Posted Apr 13 2010 4:35am

Patients are advised to understand the risks associated with surgery, and to not become the victim of a clot. Any patient who is going into hospital for an operation needs to know the chances of getting a killer clot, and what the consultant intends to do to:

a)       prevent a clot in the first place, and
b)       know how the medical staff will be able to detect a clot and what, in those circumstances they will do about it.

Patients are unaware of the single biggest hospital killer – VTE. Hospital-acquired clots are known medically as ‘venous thromboembolism’ (VTE), which is the collective term for deep vein thromboses (DVT) and pulmonary embolism. DVT occurs when a blood clot occurs in a deep vein, usually in the leg or pelvis, while pulmonary embolism is a serious and potentially fatal condition where one of the blood vessels in the lungs becomes blocked with a clot that has travelled from another part of the body, usually a DVT in the legs.

New research commissioned by Boehringer Ingelheim reveals widespread ignorance of the risk of developing hospital-acquired blood clots. In a study of 1,000 members of the public, not one respondent identified hospital-acquired clots as a cause for concern when going into hospital, despite it being the biggest cause of death: an estimated 25,000 deaths per annum after admission to UK hospitals. The study, published by Lifeblood: The Thrombosis Charity, also reveals that only half of those who had undergone surgery had the risk of hospital-acquired clots discussed with them.

Professor Beverly Hunt Medical Director of Lifeblood said: “This is a widespread, life- threatening problem – both healthcare professionals and the public have a part to play to ensure that this leading cause of death is prevented as much as possible. Today’s research clearly shows that there is a huge education gap concerning hospital acquired blood clots. We call for patients to engage in discussion with healthcare professionals and visit the Lifeblood website without further delay to ensure they are fully informed about the risks involved.”

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