In: Main2 May 2010
As a response to this mounting public health crisis, more than 60 organizations assembled in Washington in February 2003 to discuss the urgent need to make DVT a top public health priority. At this meeting, co-hosted by the APHA and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), participants agreed to establish a coalition of organizations committed to educating the public and the health care community about DVT and the importance of recognizing risk factors and implementing early measures. One of the early outcomes from the coalition meeting was the creation of a White Paper that described, in simple terms, the scope of the problem, the risk factors, and the practical measures for prevention.
A second meeting, held in August 2003, brought together national opinion leaders and representatives from key organizations, such as the American College of Chest Physicians, the APHA, and the Society of Hospital Medicine. One outcome of this meeting was the decision to sponsor a DVT Awareness Month, a campaign seeking to bring DVT into the public eye at both the national and the local level.
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The first campaign took place during March 2004 and proved to be a huge success. By increasing awareness of DVT among health care professionals and the public, it brought potentially lifesaving issues to the forefront of discussion.
A Call to Action
Increased awareness of basic information can save lives: DVT may be caused by a variety of risk factors and triggering events, including cancer; obesity; and restricted mobility resulting from acute medical illness, stroke, major surgery, or prolonged sitting in cramped spaces such as airplanes. Signs and symptoms of DVT include pain in the leg, swelling, tenderness, discoloration of the affected area, and skin that is warm to the touch.
DVT Awareness Month is all about spreading the message. We call upon you, P&T readers and colleagues in your practice—whether it be hospital-, clinic-, or office-based—to get involved. A variety of materials are available free of charge to help raise awareness of the issues. These include a display-sized poster describing the patient population at risk plus a banner for use in hospitals nationwide before and during DVT Awareness Month.
Patients can learn more about PE and DVT by accessing an excellent free article found on the “Cardiology Patient Page” of the journal Circulation. An educational aid, available for distribution to physicians, highlights DVT Awareness Month and provides up-to-date information on risk factors, prevention, and treatment.
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The need to foster awareness goes beyond a greater acknowledgment of the incidence of DVT; it must incorporate a better understanding of the preventability of the condition. Everyone must become aware of the signs, symptoms, and risk factors, and health care professionals must understand the urgency of providing appropriate prophylaxis and treatment.
Please visit the Web site to learn more about DVT. Your hospital, clinic, or office can play a vital role in protecting the lives of patients.
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