In just less than two weeks, the world will come together to celebrate World Thrombosis Day on October 13, 2015. World Thrombosis Day seeks to increase global awareness of thrombosis, including its causes, risk factors, signs, symptoms, evidence-based prevention and treatment; and ultimately strives to reduce death and disability caused by the disease.
What is World Thrombosis Day?
Founded in 2014, this is the second year for World Thrombosis Day (WTD) by the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH) in response to requests for a focused global awareness day on thrombosis. Each year, the WTD campaign centers around a specific area of blood clot awareness that has the potential to greatly impact the community and through increasing knowledge, hopefully reduce the risk and associated deaths that occur each and every day because of blood clots. Each year, blood clots affect more people than AIDS, breast cancer, and automobile accidents combined. Blood clots clots can, and do, affect anyone – from the very young, to the elderly to professionals to athletes to women to men. In the U.S. alone, up to 900,000 people each year are affected by blood clots in their legs and 1 person dies every 6 minutes due to a blood clot. The statistics are staggering.
What is VTE?
Venous thromboembolism or VTE is simply deep vein thrombosis (DVT) + pulmonary embolism (PE). A blood clot that forms in a deep vein (usually in the leg or arm) is a DVT and a blood clot in the lung is a PE, which occurs when a DVT breaks free from a vein wall, travels to the lungs and blocks some or all of the blood supply to the lungs. PE can be fatal due to this obstruction. DVT and PE together are called VTE.
Why does it matter?
The positive news is, blood clots and the deaths that result because of them, are preventable. This year, awareness will focus on hospital related deaths as a result of VTE (deep vein thrombosis + pulmonary embolism). Being in the hospital is a major risk factor for the development of VTE. Up to 60 percent of VTE cases occur during or after hospitalization, making it a leading cause of preventable hospital death. Patients who are hospitalized are at an increased risk for developing blood clots because of decreased mobility due to bedrest or recovery; or who experience blood vessel trauma due to surgery or other serious injury. In the U.S. alone, more than 540,000 hospitalized patients develop VTE and the procedures with increased risk are:
- Orthopedic surgery (e.g., total hip or knee surgery)
- Major general surgery (especially involving the abdomen, pelvis, hip or legs)
- Major gynecological surgery
- Urological surgery
- Cardiothoracic surgery
- Major peripheral vascular surgery
- Chemotherapy for cancer treatment
I did not realize how important it was to understand your risk in regards to hospitalization and VTE because I have only been in the hospital for a DVT and PE. I have never been hospitalized for any major surgeries or injuries. I currently have a family member who is in the hospital for major surgery combined with cancer treatment and I was fortunate enough to be present in the hospital room when blood clots were being discussed. Risk was assessed and my family member was prescribed twice daily injections of lovenox to prevent blood clots. Prior to the surgery, a filter was inserted to hopefully prevent any PE complications after the procedure. Seeing the pain my loved one is already going through because of the diagnosis, I suddenly realized why it is also important to consider blood clots. With all of the things to worry about in terms of diagnosis and longterm recovery, I feel relieved that the hospital has skillfully and thoroughly done the best it can to reduce the risk of blood clots. Because my blood clot happened so suddenly, it mattered to be to see a different side of treatment. Blood clots and the pain and distress caused by them, can be prevented.
What can you do to help?
- Take the Pledge and share. If you or a loved one is going to be hospitalized due to major surgery, illness or injury, be prepared discuss your risk and preventative plan with your healthcare provider. Taking this pledge can help remind you to do so if you are ever in that situation.
- Get involved on social media. Share, chat, tweet (details about the official chat below), discuss and show your support. These tools, including badges, banners and headers, will help you do just that.
- Share your story. Are you a VTE or blood clot survivor? Take a selfie, fill out this printout and share across social media. Be sure to include the hashtag #WTDay15 and #StopDeadlyClots.
- Involve your own community. Explore, download and distribute WTD posters and flyers to help raise awareness in your corner of the globe. Talk to your loved ones about their risk.
Where will I be?
- World Thrombosis Day Twitter Chat on 13 October at noon U.S. ET. Use the hashtag #ClotChat to participate in a discussion about hospital-associated VTE. Follow @thrombosisday and @ClotRecoveryNet on Twitter for details.
- Exclusive social media and blog posting on October 13. Don’t mis it.
There is hope for healing and you are not alone,