Critical Recommendations Unveiled to Respond to National Public Health Crisis: Deep-Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism
Published on: March 09, 2010
(WASHINGTON) - The American Society of Hematology has released three
critical recommendations, developed from a national workshop held in
partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),
to address deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE), a
growing public health problem estimated to affect nearly 1 million
Americans each year. The recommendations - developed by a diverse group
of representatives from federal health agencies and patient groups, as
well as experts from the medical and public health communities - appear
in the March 9, 2010, Supplement to American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM): Blood Disorders in Public Health - Making the Connection. AJPM
is a publication of the American College of Preventive Medicine (ACPM)
and Association for Prevention Teaching and Research (APTR). The special
supplement is being released in conjunction with the first annual National Conference on Blood Disorders in Public Health on March 9-11, 2010, in Atlanta, GA.
Normal blood clotting is important for preventing excessive bleeding
due to injury; however, in DVT a clot forms inside a deep vein, usually
in the lower limbs. If left untreated, the clot can break loose and
travel to the lungs, a life-threatening condition called PE. An
estimated 300,000 people die from PE in the United States each year.
"DVT is of such concern that the U.S. Surgeon General issued a call
to action last fall to help raise public awareness about the disorder
and increase research on the causes, prevention, and treatment for DVT
and PE," said Gary Raskob, PhD, lead author of the AJPM paper
and Dean of the College of Public Health at the University of Oklahoma
Health Sciences Center. "Though it's a common disorder, DVT is highly
preventable. That's why spreading the word about who's at risk and the
steps one can take to prevent these dangerous clots is so important."
The recommendations, developed by a group of experts convened by the American Society of Hematology (ASH), are:
- There is a need to strengthen surveillance of DVT and PE in the
United States to provide a geographically representative measure of the
annual incidences of DVT and PE, with appropriate representation of all
minority groups in proportions approximating the U.S. population.
- The CDC should establish a group of experts to advise on the
scientific approaches for strengthened surveillance of DVT and PE,
including the appropriate use of prospective population-based studies,
and the role for national or regional databases.
- Increased public awareness of the risk factors for DVT and PE is
critical to increasing the application of preventive measures. The CDC
should undertake, in cooperation with relevant partners, a national
campaign to increase public awareness of DVT and PE.
"Currently, there isn’t a national system for monitoring changes in
the incidence of DVT and PE," said Hani K. Atrash, MD, MPH, Director of
the CDC's Division of Blood Disorders. "It's time to put in place an
ongoing method of documenting the prevalence of these disorders and
their consequences, identifying individuals affected by them, and
determining which medical and public health strategies are working - or
not working - to prevent and reduce DVT and PE."
The recommendations for this national strategy to further research
and combat DVT and PE - collectively known as venous thromboembolism
(VTE) - come at a time when concrete evidence has shown that the risk of
VTE is three times higher for air travelers, according to a recent
study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Being
immobile for long periods, such as in an airplane or during a long
hospital stay, increases the risk of clotting due to the restriction of
blood flow. To reduce the risk, travelers are advised to stay active on
the plane and stay hydrated by drinking lots of water and avoiding
In the arms or legs, DVT can cause sudden pain, swelling, and
tenderness; PE symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath, and
sweating. Risk factors include surgery or trauma, hospitalization for a
medical illness, cancer, obesity, smoking, pregnancy, oral contraceptive
use, age over 60, a family history of these blood clots, and others.
More information on these clotting disorders can be obtained from ASH's
patient-oriented website, www.BloodTheVitalConnection.org.
Reporters who wish to arrange an interview with Gary E. Raskob, PhD, or Roy Silverstein, MD, authors of the AJPM paper, may contact Patrick Irelan at 202-776-0544 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The American Society of Hematology
is the world’s largest professional society concerned with the causes
and treatment of blood disorders. Its mission is to further the
understanding, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders
affecting blood, bone marrow, and the immunologic, hemostatic, and
vascular systems, by promoting research, clinical care, education,
training, and advocacy in hematology. ASH provides Blood: The Vital
a credible online resource addressing bleeding and clotting disorders,
anemia, and cancer. The official journal of ASH is Blood, the most cited peer-reviewed publication in the field, which is available weekly in print and online.
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