Understanding Thrombosis

Spot The Signs… Save A Life.

Thrombosis refers to abnormal, life-threatening blood clots that form in the artery or vein. A clot in the vein (usually in the leg or pelvis) is known as a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). While a clot that breaks off and travels to the lungs is known as a pulmonary embolism (PE). Together, DVT and PE make up venous thromboembolism (VTE). An underestimated figure of approximately 6,000 cases of blood clots is recorded by the HSE each year in Ireland but this excludes people treated as out-patients i.e. not admitted; people who do not make it to the hospital (death out of hospital); maternity admissions; blood clots in children; and fatal admissions. This figure of 6,000 is nowhere near accurate. 50% of these cases are potentially preventable, reducing the risk of death and disability for thousands of people. Blood clots can be very serious, but, there are preventative measures that can be taken. There are also effective treatments to deal with them if diagnosed quickly.

Blood clots do not discriminate between men & women, young or old. They can strike anyone at any age. Here are some shocking facts about thrombosis:

  • 1 in 4 people will die of causes related to thrombosis
  • 1 cause of preventable death in our hospitals
  • 60% of blood clots happen as a direct result of a hospital stay or in the 90 days after discharge.
  • It is the primary cause of direct maternal death in our maternity hospitals
  • 1 in 5 cancer patients will get a blood clot

Blood clots rarely happen for one reason, therefore, in order to ascertain who is at risk and which Patient needs preventative measures, Health Care Professionals must do a VTE risk assessment on all patients who attend our hospital’s. Nothing less is acceptable. A simple questionnaire could be the difference between life and death. If you are going in to hospital, ask for a VTE Risk Assessment.

You or your doctor cannot know the level of your risk if you are not risk assessed.

A Patient may be at higher risk of getting a blood clot if:

  • They are admitted to hospital and for 90 days when they go home
  • They have active cancer or receiving cancer treatment.
  • They are pregnant or have had a baby less than 6 weeks ago.
  • They are immobile (more than 3 days in bed/ travel non-stop for more than 6 hours/ in a leg cast)

A Patient’s risk may increase further if:

  • They or a close relative had a blood clot
  • They had surgery in the last 90 days
  • They have thrombophilia (tendency to clot)
  • They are on the oral contraceptive pill or HRT
  • They have heart, lung or inflammatory disease
  • They are 60 years of age or overweight
  • They have varicose veins that become red or sore

Signs and Symptoms of a blood clot:

  • Swelling or pain in the leg or arm
  • Warmth or redness in the leg or arm
  • Shortness of breath or rapid breathing
  • Chest pain (particularly when breathing deeply)
  • Coughing or coughing up blood.

If you have one or more of these symptoms, you may have a clot and need urgent treatment.

It is crucial that everyone knows:

  • Their Risk
  • The signs to look out for
  • The need to seek medical attention Fast

Download our Blood Clot Alert Card now or contact us for your very own laminated wallet sized Blood Clot Alert Card Now!

Get Involved… Save A Life