Improving Outcomes for Patients with Venous Thromboembolism
Prevalence and Lack of Awareness
Venous thromboembolism (VTE) refers to a blood clot that starts in a vein. It is the third leading vascular diagnosis after heart attack and stroke. There are two types: 1) Deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is a clot in a deep vein, usually in the leg; 2.) Pulmonary embolism (PE), which can be fatal, occurs when a DVT clot breaks free from a vein wall, travels to the lungs and then blocks some or all of the blood supply. About two-thirds of patients with VTE present with DVT only. The remaining present with PE as the first manifestation and primary cause of VTE-related mortality. Patient awareness of the risk of VTE associated with hospitalization is low.
- In a large global survey conducted in 2014, the proportions of respondents who were aware of thrombosis, DVT, and PE (68%, 44%, and 54%, respectively) were lower than the proportions who were aware of other thrombotic disorders such as heart attack and stroke (88% and 85%, respectively).
- Fewer than half of respondents were aware that blood clots were preventable, and awareness that conditions such as cancer, hospitalization, and surgery were associated with risk was quite low (16%, 25%, and 36%, respectively).
This lack of awareness is not the result of a lack of interest on the part of patients or their families. A survey of patients and families found that participants wanted to learn about VTE symptoms, risk factors, prevention, and complications, preferring to receive education in the context of a doctor-patient encounter.
HeartBEATS from Lifelong Learning™
What is VTE: Why Does it Matter?
Watch a discussion among experts on the epidemiology of venous thromboembolism (VTE), including identifying patients at risk and discussing methods for the accurate diagnosis of DVT/PE as well as existing VTE treatment options, algorithms, and corresponding safety and efficiency profiles. CE and ABIM MOC Credits available.
Guidelines and Articles
- Venous Thromboembolism Research Priorities: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association and the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis | Circulation (ahajournals.org)
- Call to Action to Prevent Venous Thromboembolism in Hospitalized Patients: A Policy Statement From the American Heart Association | Circulation (ahajournals.org
- 2021 ACC/AHA/SVM/ACP Advanced Training Statement on Vascular Medicine (Revision of the 2004 ACC/ACP/SCAI/SVMB/SVS Clinical Competence Statement on Vascular Medicine and Catheter-Based Peripheral Vascular Interventions) | Circulation: Cardiovascular Interventions (ahajournals.org)