Spot the Clot - Western Trust supports National Thrombosis Week

11/05/2011

Spot the Clot - Western Trust supports National Thrombosis Week

The Western Trust is raising public awareness of venous thromboembolism (VTE) during this year’s National Thrombosis week 9th – 13th May 2011.

National Thrombosis Week highlights the issues around the diagnosis, care and prevention of VTE. A blood clot within a vein is known as a venous thrombosis and the most common type is deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in the leg. An embolism is when part of the clot ‘breaks off’. An embolism can travel from the clot in the leg through the circulation to the lungs where it causes a life threatening pulmonary embolism (PE).

 

This week the Western Trust is encouraging all healthcare workers and the general public to be aware of what puts individuals at risk of developing a thrombosis (clot) and how to recognise the signs. Symptoms of a DVT include pain, tenderness and swelling of the leg, usually in the calf and discolouration of the leg to a pale blue or reddish purple colour.

 

Dr Feargal McNicholl, Consultant Haematologist at the Western Trust, said: “Venous thrombosis kills more people in the UK than breast cancer, AIDS and traffic accidents combined, but rarely gets brought to the public’s attention. Many of the deaths caused by venous thrombosis are preventable. National Thrombosis week gives us an opportunity to address this.

 

"We need to break the myth that thrombosis is only a condition that affects older people or that you're only likely to suffer from blood clots when flying. Whilst venous clots are more common in the elderly, the Office of National Statistics (ONC) found that 62 people between the ages of 21and 30 died in the UK after developing a blood clot in 2008."

 

Dr  McNicholl, continued: “Hopefully we can empower people by giving them critical information which allows them not only to decrease their risk of getting a venous thrombosis in the first place but also to enable them to identify the symptoms and signs of this serious condition at the earliest possible point,  regardless of their age”.

 

Over the coming weeks, posters will be displayed throughout the Western Trust area to highlight the risks of blood clots to both the public and healthcare professionals. A regional patient information leaflet will also be launched to help increase patient’s understanding of this condition, what to look out for and ways to prevent a clot forming.

 

Daryl Connolly, Medicines Governance Pharmacist at the Western Trust, who organised this week’s awareness events together with colleagues from the clinical teams, said: “This week is all about raising the profile of this silent killer. Clot prevention and treatment is not a new science and we have procedures in place to assess the risks of someone getting a clot through relevant risk assessments.

 

“By stepping up our awareness campaign during National Thrombosis Week we hope to encourage everyone to be aware and mindful of the symptoms Thrombosis can affect anyone of any age regardless of weight or fitness level. Just this year tennis champion, Serena Williams suffered a pulmonary embolism which she received hospital treatment for.”

 

Dr Anne Kilgallen, Medical Director, Western Trust added: “The Trust through this week’s awareness campaign is playing its part as a healthcare leader in the prevention and treatment of this condition. DVT and VTE are serious but preventable conditions. The Western Trust is already driving up preventative treatment standards. However, more work needs to be done to raise awareness of these conditions.”

 

If you would like to find out more go to ‘Lifeblood – The Thrombosis Charity’ website on: http://www.thrombosis-charity.org.uk

 

Please click here for an informaton leaflet on reducing the risk of a blood clot.