Chief Medical Officer says the recommendations in the expert working group report on the prevention of venous thromboembolism are sensible and practicable and they will save lives
April 2007 19th – Today the Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Sir Liam Donaldson, announced that every hospital patient should be assessed to prevent patients developing potentially fatal blood clots (venous thromboembolism [VTE]).
Within the report the expert working group made the following key recommendations:
· All patients admitted to hospital be assessed for the risk of developing blood clots (venous thromboembolism (VTE), more commonly known as DVT)
· Hospitalised patients considered at risk from VTE be considered for thromboprophylaxis medication
“Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a preventable condition. Routine risk assessment as advised by the CMO and appropriate treatment will go a long way to preventing not only some of the 32,000 deaths which occur each year from deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE), but also reduce the long term debilitating burden that occurs after the veins are damaged by DVT.” said Professor Ian Greer, Dean of Hull York Medical School.
Additionally, the CMO has written to all doctors informing them of best practice from existing guidance that he received from the expert group and he has asked Dr Anita Thomas, the group’s Chair, to lead the next phase of this important work by chairing an implementation working group. This group will develop a national risk assessment tool, and will also provide leadership both within the NHS and the wider healthcare sector in order to assess what needs to be done to ensure that a VTE risk assessment of every patient on admission to hospital becomes a reality.
Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a serious medical problem which causes between 25,000 and 32,000 deaths in hospitalised patients each year in the UK1. VTE kills 25 times more patients than MRSA in hospitals and accounts for more than the total number of deaths from AIDS, breast cancer and traffic accidents combined1. These figures are alarming considering VTE in hospitalised patients is largely preventable through the use of medication (thromboprophylaxis)1.
Commenting today on the of the Chief Medical Officer’s announcement, Eve Knight, Executive Director of Anticoagulation Europe (ACE) said, “Anyone, no matter what age, admitted to hospital, is at an increased risk of developing a blood clot. Often the condition is symptom less or ‘silent’, affecting patients without warning. By evaluating every patient against a simple, yet effective risk assessment chart and treating at-risk patients accordingly, many unnecessary deaths and much physical pain, emotional suffering and long term disability could be prevented.”
For more information on the CMO announcement, please visit: http://www.dh.gov.uk/PublicationsAndStatistics/PressReleases/fs/en
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