In: Main3 May 2010
I would like to ask your readers to take advantage of this opportunity to raise awareness of an often silent, frequently underestimated disease state affecting our patient populations: deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
P&T readers: As many of you know, DVT occurs when a blood clot forms in one of the large veins (usually in the lower limbs), resulting in partial or complete blockage of circulation. DVT may become fatal by causing a pulmonary embolism (PE), a serious complication that occurs when a blood clot or fragment breaks off from the vein it is in and migrates to the lungs, where it can block the pulmonary artery or its branches. What is less well known is the fact that more Americans die each year from PE than from breast cancer, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), or highway fatalities.
Most patients have never heard of DVT or PE and have no understanding of this potentially deadly disease. According to a survey sponsored by the American Public Health Association (APHA), among those who are aware of DVT, more than half are unable to name any common risk factors or pre-existing conditions that can lead to DVT development. Most patients die from PE without ever knowing that they had it. Sadly, up to two thirds of these deaths may be preventable.
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To address this crisis, we call upon you, our nursing, pharmacy, physician, and interested health care colleagues, to help bring much needed attention to this potentially devastating condition. “DVT Awareness Month,” which will take place in March 2005, aims to inform individuals about the potential for developing DVT and to help them learn how to lower their risk. For physicians and other health care professionals, this effort emphasizes the importance of appropriate risk assessment, prevention, and treatment strategies.
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