A recent study focused on the prevalence of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in the U.S. VTE encompasses deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) and an associated and sometimes fatal complication known as pulmonary thromombolism (PE). DVT occurs when a clot forms deep in veins, usually in the lower extremities (legs, thighs or hip area), often causing pain and swelling. When one of these clots partially or completely breaks free, there exits the possibility that it will travel through the bloodstream and lodge in the lung, causing a PE. Researchers from the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Minnesota, the University of Massachusetts Medical School and other institutions found that approximately 600,000 Americans experience a non-fatal VTE each year. In addition, it was estimated that nearly 300,000 suffer from fatal VTE events every year. These fatal events are often caused by PE. Two-thirds of the VTEs result from prolonged in-hospital immobilization. Immobilization is one of several common causes for VTE.
Researchers suggest that many of the estimated 900,000 VTE events are preventable. “This study demonstrates that nearly one million people in the U.S. still develop VTE each year and almost one-third are fatal,” said John Heit, MD, one of the study investigators and professor of Medicine at Mayo Clinic. He continued, “it also shows that the most fatal PE events either occur suddenly or follow asymptomatic and unrecognized DVT. DVT must be prevented in order to avoid these deaths, and over two-thirds of US VTE were related to hospitalization where safe and effective DVT prophylaxis is available.”
The study is entitled “Estimated Annual Number of Incident and Recurrent Non-Fatal and Fatal Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) Events in the U.S." Findings were presented at the 47th annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology, held December 10-13, 2005 in Atlanta, GA.
Source: PR Newswire, December 14, 2005