Further strides need to be made to reduce the mortality associated with venous thromboembolism (VTE) and arterial thrombosis caused atrial fibrillation (AF) despite the increased awareness generated by World Thrombosis Day according to its organisers.
Daiichi Sankyo is a partner of World Thrombosis Day and are calling on health organisations to promote vital global awareness of thrombosis, its causes, risk factors, and signs and symptoms.
Thrombosis is the formation of potentially deadly blood clots in the vein (venous thrombosis) – resulting in venous thromboembolism (VTE) – or the artery (arterial thrombosis) – a major cause of stroke in those with atrial fibrillation (AF).
View an interactive infographic on AF and VTE at: http://af-vte.thisinfographic.com/wtd.
VTE is the collective term for deep vein thrombosis (DVT), where clots form in deep veins such as in the leg, and pulmonary embolism (PE), where a clot breaks off and travels up to the lungs. It is the leading cause of preventable death in hospitals. Despite this, VTE is associated with over 370,000 deaths every year in the EU alone, so people need to be aware and ‘think VTE’ if they or a loved one need to spend time in hospital.
Dr. Harry R. Büller, Professor of Internal Medicine at Academic Medical Centre in Holland, said: "We’re calling on healthcare professionals and policy makers to prioritise the implementation of VTE risk assessments to help reduce the threat posed by this disease.
"We’re also calling for greater public awareness and knowledge of the signs and symptoms of VTE in order to empower individuals to act quickly to seek medical attention. The World Thrombosis Day campaign can play a key part in helping to reduce the mortality associated with VTE."
Research shows that VTE risk assessments significantly reduce mortality with risk factors such as a history of blood clots, obesity, previous surgery, pregnancy and use of contraceptive pills needing to be accounted for in the assessment. Presence of one or more of these factors may indicate the need for anticoagulant medicine, provided the patient is not at risk of bleeding.
Up to 20% of people with AF experience no symptoms, particularly if their heart rate is not that fast. As such, many patients are not diagnosed early enough and an acute stroke is a common first presentation of AF. A simple pulse check can quickly indicate the presence of AF for many.
Professor John Camm, Professor of Clinical Cardiology at St. George’s University London, added: "An irregular pulse can be a strong indicator of AF, and so in asking the public and healthcare providers to carry out simple pulse checks as a matter of course, we can help ensure that many of those at risk of suffering strokes are prompted to receive the treatments they need to reduce this risk.
"Enabling patients to be properly anticoagulated is an essential step in reducing the disease burden, with AF-related strokes accounting for 15% of the 15 million strokes that occur globally every year."