The assessments enable staff to identify low, high and very high risk patients and ensure that each patient is given the right level of treatment to prevent blood clots forming.
Immobility, combined with short or long term disease, is the main cause of blood clots, which can form in the veins (deep vein thrombosis) or in the lungs (pulmonary embolism). Together they are known as venous thromboembolism (VTE) and can affect around 1 in 2000 people each year in the community. Deep vein thrombosis is less common in people under the age of 40 and more common in people over the age of 80.
Salisbury District Hospital is in the forefront nationally on VTE prophylaxis and recently achieved ‘Exemplar’ status. This means that it will now help other Trusts to learn from the work carried out at Salisbury District Hospital and enable them to build on their own systems. The Trust’s Medical Director, Alistair Flowerdew, is also represented on the National Task Force.
Tamara Everington, Consultant Haematologist said: “ VTE is common in patients who are in hospital because they are ill or require surgery. All patients can help to reduce their own ‘clot risk’ by drinking plenty of water and doing regular simple leg exercises. Patients at high risk will need blood thinning treatment and possibly special leg stockings as well.”
Dr Everington added: “Getting the balance right in clot prevention requires close team working. We see our patients as being at the heart of this team. If a patient or a member of the family is admitted to hospital, we would ask them to talk to us about their risk of a clot so that we can advise on the best prevention for them.”
A DVD has been produced at Salisbury District Hospital that can be used locally and nationally as a teaching aid for patients and staff. Ends
Notes to editors:
Blood clotting provides us with essential protection against severe loss of blood from an injury to a vein or artery. However, blood is only supposed to clot when it is outside a blood vessel, and clotting within an artery, or vein, can be dangerous.
A deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot forms in a vein. The DVT usually forms in a deep leg vein, and can cause immobility (lack of movement). Deep leg veins are the larger veins that run through the muscles of the calf and thigh. A DVT can form across all, or part, of the width of your vein, which can block your blood flow either completely or partially.
DVT and pulmonary emboli (clots in the lungs) are conditions known as venous thromboemboli
Venous thromboemboli are fairly common events with about 1 in 2,000 people, in the UK, being affected each year. DVT is less common in people under the age of 40 (less than 1 in 3,000) and more common in people over the age of 80 (up to 1 in 500).
A DVT usually develops in the calf, but it sometimes also occurs in the thigh. Occasionally, other deep veins in the body are affected. Inflammation of surface veins (superficial phlebitis) is much less serious.
For further information please contact:
Patrick Butler, Public Relations Manager, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust. Tel: 01722 425170