In an article from the Washington Post, the author states “A surprisingly large number of hospital patients run the risk of a potentially fatal vein clot, but half of them aren’t getting preventative treatment.”

The condition is called venous thromboembolism (VTE) and involves the formation of blood clots inside a vein. VTE may be a bigger threat than anyone has previously realized. VTEs can block blood vessels in the leg (deep vein thrombosis) or in the lungs (pulmonary embolism). Dr. Frederick A. Anderson, Jr. is the director of the Center for Outcomes Research at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the lead researcher for a project that studied the risk of patients in the hospital for VTE.

He is quoted “We looked at 38 million discharges in a database for US hospitals and found that about one of every three people in a hospital bed in the United States arguable should be protected against VTE because they have a risk.” His team published their report in the July issue of the American Journal of Hematology. “The risk is highest for people undergoing orthopedic surgery, such as hip or knee replacement…About 9 of every 10 orthopedic surgery patients are at risk.”

The author ends the article with Dr. Anderson’s quote, “Preventing VTE after hospital stays could have a significant public health impact. Here we have a preventable cause of death in hospital patients, and we should be trying to prevent it.”

Find more information about pulmonary embolism at the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Bo Frith