The British government is publishing official guide which specifies
how to check every hospital patient for deep vein thrombosis
(DVT) risk. It is estimated that it causes some 25,000 deaths
a year in UK hospitals alone (BBC).
If the rate is similar, it
amounts to well over 100,000 deaths a year here in the U.S.,
also in hospitals alone. Yet, there is no organized official
action aimed at remedying this preventable ongoing tragedy of
The condition is caused by blood clothing, most often in large
veins of legs and hips. Large clots can obstruct blood flow, and
smaller clots can reach any part of the body, causing serious, potentially
deadly consequences. The most common complication is
embolism (PE), when such clots block blood flow between the lungs
and heart. Among the other possible complications are
and loss of vision.
Over half of the affected folks don't have any symptoms, and for
the rest they usually limit to mild tenderness in the area around
the obstructed lower body vein.
According to the American Hearth Association, up to 2 million
Americans is affected by DVT, with up to 200,000 deaths from PE
alone every year. Despite deep vein thrombosis being the third
largest cause of death in the US, most American have never heard of
it, nor are aware of the risk factors.
That is only logical
considering that less than 1 in 20 has heard of it from their doctors.
Among the main DVT risk factors are
age (most common after 40),
(typical of a hospital stay),
Despite the magnitude of DTV threat and
urgency, the only action taken thus far in the US are the NCCN
(National Comprehensive Cancer Network) guidelines (May 2006) for
reducing the risk from DVT in cancer patients.
The main preventive measure are, officially, blood-thinning medications.
Healthier alternative are increased mobility, discontinuation of
indicated medications (whenever possible), vitamin C and
enzymes, particularly bromelain.