Coalition Formed to Raise Awareness of DVT

February 20, 2002

NEW YORK (MedscapeWire) Feb 21 — Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is an underestimated public health problem, according to the Council for Leadership on Thrombosis (CLOT) Awareness and Management, which announced its formation last week to raise awareness, advance prevention and treatment, and reduce the dangers of DVT, a potentially life-threatening condition that affects about 2 million Americans annually.

CLOT is made up of medical professionals in a variety of specialties who are affiliated with leading US institutions. CLOT plans to target both healthcare professionals and the general public with such major initiatives as a national DVT free screening program of 7500 patients at more than 200 hospitals, and the ClotAlert Resource Center, a multifaceted campaign to educate consumers, physicians, and other healthcare professionals about the risk factors and symptoms of DVT.

"Deep-vein thrombosis represents one of the most commonly occurring and serious medical conditions, yet it has never received the same attention as heart attack or stroke," said Samuel Z. Goldhaber, MD, co-chair of the Council for Leadership on Thrombosis Awareness and Management. He is director of the Venous Thromboembolism Research Group and Cardiac Center's Anticoagulation Service at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

"This is the first time that DVT has been portrayed as a true public health problem," said Victor Tapson, MD, co-chair of the Council for Leadership on Thrombosis Awareness and Management and associate professor, Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Department of Medicine at Duke University in Durham, NC. "Only with that level of attention will we make progress in reducing the frequency of missed diagnoses. Although dangerous, once diagnosed, DVT is easily treated."

CLOT will act as the steering committee for the DVT free screening program, the largest and most comprehensive observational registry of patients suffering from DVT ever undertaken in the United States. Healthcare professionals at participating institutions will determine the clinical history of patients with confirmed DVT and ascertain what prophylaxis, if any, was administered previously. The screening will be the first step in establishing a nationwide database to define the standard of care for patients with DVT.

"DVT is often a silent illness that can go unrecognized because of its minimal symptoms, but as medical professionals, we have to keep the possibility of blood clots on our radar screens," said Dr. Goldhaber. "There are several emerging treatment strategies that allow us to treat DVT more easily, safely, and effectively. We've had FDA-approved ways to prevent DVT, but we have to recognize the problem."

CLOT is also launching the ClotAlert Resource Center, a series of educational initiatives designed to increase both public and professional awareness of DVT and pulmonary embolism (PE) as national health problems. The ClotAlert Resource Center will provide tools to help improve the public's awareness of DVT and PE and currently available treatments and preventive strategies. It will also aid nonvascular clinicians in the diagnosis and management of DVT and PE and offer medical counseling skills for treating at-risk patients. For more information, patients and physicians can call 1-800-CLOT-FREE.

Some risk factors for developing DVT include acute medical illness, orthopedic or lower extremities surgery, cancer, chronic heart or respiratory failure, inherited or acquired predisposition to clotting, varicose veins, obesity, pregnancy, birth control pills, postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy, advanced age, and long-distance travel.

CLOT is made up of 11 healthcare professionals specializing in the fields of emergency medicine, cardiology, vascular nursing, pharmacy, general and orthopedic surgery, pulmonary, internal, perioperative, vascular and critical care medicine. The Council was established through an unrestricted educational grant provided by Aventis Pharmaceutical

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