The tool gives people information on the causes of blood clots, known as venous thrmobolembolism (VTE), and the personal factors and medical history that could increase the risk of someone developing a VTE.
Tamara Everington, Consultant Haematologist at Salisbury District Hospital said: “ Immobility, combined with short or long term disease, is the main cause of blood clots, which can form in the veins or in the lungs and together these VTEs can affect around 1 in 2000 people each year in the community.”
“It’s essential that people know about their own particular risk factors and the simple things that they can do to help prevent VTEs developing. For instance, people who are overweight, smoke, drink heavily and don’t exercise will have a high risk of developing a VTE, which is why it’s important that people think carefully about their own lifestyle.”
Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust is in the forefront nationally on VTE prophylaxis and patients admitted to Salisbury District Hospital receive an assessment to see whether they are at risk of developing blood clots while in hospital. 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.
The Trust also recently achieved ‘Exemplar’ status., which means that it now helps other hospitals to learn from the work carried out at Salisbury District Hospital and enable them to build on their own systems. The development of the online assessment tool by staff is another way in which the hospital is sharing best practice and widening availability of patient information in this area.
Dr Everington said: “ VTEs are dangerous so it’s important that people are aware of their own particular risk factors. We provide information locally for our patients, but I think that our assessment aid will give people across the country the advice and help that they need through the NHS Choices website.” Ends
Notes to Editors
1. The assessment tool can be accessed through NHS Choices at www.nhs.uk/toolbox
2. Trust staff were represented on the National Task Force on VTE prophylaxis.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. DVT and pulmonary emboli (clots in the lungs) are conditions known as venous thromboemboli
6. 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).
7. 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