Hospital Blood Clots Can Often Be Prevented, CDC Tells Medical Industry

U.S. health officials have launched a new initiative aimed at reducing the risk of patients suffering dangerous blood clots during a hospital visits, indicating that most of these health care associated blood clots can be avoided. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the Healthcare-associated VTE Prevention Challenge on November 3, which is an initiative designed to find strategies that prevent cases of venous thromboembolism (VTE) linked to recent hospital stays or surgeries.

VTEs are blood clots that can cause either deep vein thrombosis (DVT), where the clot occurs deep in the veins of the body, often a leg, causing severe pain, or pulmonary embolism (PE), where the clot breaks free and moves into the heart or lungs, where it can result in life-threatening injuries.

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The CDC estimates that about 900,000 Americans suffer clot injuries every year, with 100,000 of them dying. The CDC predicts that about half of those blood clots are hospital or healthcare related.

Estimates suggest that about 70% of healthcare-associated blood clots are preventable, but notes that less than half of patients get the intervention they need, such as blood thinner medications, to actually prevent VTE injuries.

The prevention challenge elevates the prevention of healthcare-associated VTEs to a national hospital safety priority. It seeks to identify and recognize hospitals that are doing a good job of preventing such injuries, and to find out what strategies and innovations are working and why.

“Doctors and nurses in hospitals and other healthcare settings can save lives by implementing the best practices discovered through this challenge,” CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden, said in a press release. “Tell us about what you are doing and what’s helping prevent blood clots, so we can advance science and save lives together.”

The challenge calls for hospitals to submit information on the successful use of risk assessments, protocols, health information technology, educational tools and other measures that have been shown to lower the risk of healthcare-associated blood clots.

There will be a panel of judges from the CDC, the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ), and other agencies. They will select the best submissions to be recognized as winners of the challenge and those successful strategies will be highlighted as best practices to be used nationwide.


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