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American Hospital Dubai marks World Thrombosis Day

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

The American Hospital Dubai will mark World Thrombosis Day 2015 with an information campaign designed to raise awareness of the risk of thrombosis (abnormal, life-threatening blood clots that form in the vein) amongst patients, visitors and hospital staff.

The focus of this year’s World Day is venous thromboembolism (VTE). VTE is the formation of blood clots in the vein. When a clot forms in a deep vein, usually in the leg, it is called a deep vein thrombosis or DVT. Once formed, a clot can slow or block normal blood flow, and even break loose and travel to the lungs.

If that clot breaks loose and travels to the lungs, it is called a pulmonary embolism or PE. Together, DVT and PE are known as VTE – a dangerous and potentially deadly medical condition. Heart attack, stroke and venous thromboembolism (VTE) are the top three cardiovascular killers.

According to published studies in the U.S. and Europe, VTE-related events kill more people than AIDS, breast cancer, prostate cancer and motor vehicle crashes combined. Up to 60 per cent of VTE cases occur during or after hospitalization, making it a leading preventable cause of hospital death.

VTE affects people of all ages, races and ethnicities, and occurs in both men and women. Certain factors and situations can increase the risk of developing potentially deadly blood clots. Research suggests that VTEs are often preventable, and prevention strategies can stop the development of clots in ‘at-risk’ individuals.

To identify patients ‘at-risk,’ healthcare professionals should conduct a VTE risk assessment, which is tool or questionnaire that gathers information about a patient’s age, medical history, medications and specific lifestyle factors. Information is then used to define a patient’s potential risk (high, moderate or low risk) for developing blood clots in the legs or lungs.

Prevention treatments include anti-clotting medications (such as blood thinners, referred to as “anticoagulants”) and mechanical devices (compression stockings, intermittent pneumatic compression devices or rapid inflation venous foot pumps). Hospital patients may also be instructed to move around or do foot/leg exercises as soon and as often as possible.

Dr. Maroun El Khoury, Consultant Hematologist Oncologist at the American Hospital Dubai, who will lead the awareness campaign at the hospital, said: “A recent international awareness study on thrombosis suggests that public understanding of VTE is much lower than other serious health conditions, such as heart attack, stroke, hypertension, breast cancer and prostate cancer.”

“Less than 50 per cent of the participating adults knew that blood clots were preventable and only a quarter identified hospitalization as a risk factor for thrombosis. Our aim with this campaign is to use the opportunity of World Thrombosis Day to help raise awareness of this serious condition,” he added.