Often called a “silent killer,” deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) is a type of clot that forms in a major vein of the leg or, less commonly, in the arms, pelvis, or other large veins in the body. Between 300,000 and 600,000 Americans are affected by these clots annually, which can quickly turn deadly when they detach and travel to the lungs, blocking blood flow in what is called a pulmonary embolism (PE). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), PE and other DVT-related complications take the lives of approximately 60,000–100,000 Americans each year, which is more than breast cancer, motor vehicle accidents, and HIV combined1. Despite these alarming statistics, many Americans remain unaware of DVT and PE and cannot recognize critical risk factors for these life-threatening blood clots or take necessary preventive measures to avoid them.
As part of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) mission to further the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of blood disorders, the Society is involved with the following initiatives aimed at increasing awareness of DVT as a major public health problem. The Society supports research, clinical, and policy programs that seek to improve quality of life for Americans suffering from these clots.
- During DVT Awareness Month (March) 2012, ASH will join the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Hemophilia of Georgia as a co-sponsor of the second National Conference on Blood Disorders in Public Health in Atlanta, which includes several sessions on DVT. Among the many goals of this conference, researchers, clinicians, patient advocacy groups, and other stakeholders will promote the adoption and full integration of evidence-based and evidence-informed public health functions that can improve outcomes among people with DVT.
- ASH continues to work with several advocacy coalitions and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on several DVT-related efforts. ASH has been very active in encouraging Congress to support the development of a national thrombosis surveillance system at the CDC, as well as to support funding at NIH, CDC, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and other federal agencies to enable research into prevention, treatment, and cures for DVT.
- ASH offers valuable resources for researchers who focus on DVT, including the Special Symposium on the Basic Science of Hemostasis and Thrombosis held during the ASH annual meeting. This symposium provides information on the latest research in the field and focuses on the most notable contributions made in the areas of thrombosis, blood coagulation and fibrinolysis, and platelet biology. Read more about the 2011 symposium and access DVT-related abstracts from the 2011 ASH Annual Meeting on the 2011 annual meeting website.
- For clinicians who treat patients with blood clots, ASH recently released a new pocket-sized Quick Reference clinical guideline on anticoagulant dosing and management, “Clinical Practice Guide on Anticoagulant Dosing and Management of Anticoagulant-Associated Bleeding Complications in Adults,” adapted in part from The American College of Chest Physicians Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guideline on Antithrombotic and Thrombolytic Therapy (8th Edition).
Information for patients with DVT or those who want to learn more about the disease: Access ASH’s patient resource pages to find general information about blood clots and blood clot risk factors including air travel and pregnancy, as well as more information about preventive measures and treatments.
Patients can also access a listing of links to organizations that inform and support patients with clotting disorders.
1Deep Vein Thrombosis: Data and Statistics.http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/dvt/data.html. Accessed March 2, 2012
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