NEW YORK, March 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Coalition to Prevent Deep-Vein Thrombosis (DVT) marks the 10-year anniversary of its formation this year, celebrating numerous milestones that have helped to raise national awareness of DVT and its potentially fatal combination, pulmonary embolism (PE).
A common but serious medical condition, DVT is a blood clot that forms in one of the large veins, usually in the lower limbs, leading to either partially or completely blocked circulation. The condition may result in health complications, such as a PE and even death if not diagnosed and treated effectively.
Up to 2 million Americans are affected by DVT annually, and complications from DVT/PE kill up to 300,000 people in the U.S. each year – more than AIDS and breast cancer combined.,
Since its formation in 2003, the Coalition has been committed to making DVT a national public health priority. The most significant accomplishments made by the Coalition over the last decade have been:
- March has been established as DVT Awareness Month, and the Coalition introduced National DVT Screening Day
- The Joint Commission has mandated National Patient Safety Goals to help reduce the risk of DVT through proper care and risk assessment
- Former Acting U.S. Surgeon General Steven K. Galson, M.D., M.P.H., issued a Call to Action to prevent DVT/PE
- Coalition membership has grown to more than 70 members
- The Coalition has raised awareness of this public health issue by nearly 20 percent
"It has been very rewarding to have been able to bring some visibility to this common but not well-known condition," said Coalition national patient spokesperson, Melanie Bloom, whose husband, NBC news correspondent David Bloom, died nearly 10 years ago from DVT-related complications while covering the war in Iraq. "When I first joined the Coalition, I said that if one life is saved by David's story, then his death will not be in vain. I'm proud to say that in 10 years, we have heard from thousands of people – sometimes just moments after a news broadcast – who say they learned about DVT and were motivated to speak to their doctors and may have even lived because of David's story and the Coalition's efforts to raise awareness."
Although the awareness level of this serious yet preventable condition continues to rise, there remains a critical need to continue to close the gap between risk and patient understanding. Certain individuals may be at an increased risk for developing DVT; however, it can occur in almost anyone. Surprisingly, almost all hospitalized patients have at least one risk factor for DVT and PE, and approximately 40 percent of patients have three or more risk factors.,
The Coalition to Prevent DVT has long advocated that people be aware of their overall risk, which may include lifestyle and medical risk factors. Lifestyle risk factors may include being over the age of 40, being overweight, or smoking. Medical risk factors may include prolonged immobility due to hospitalization, recent surgery, or other health conditions including but not limited to heart disease, respiratory conditions and cancer.5
"With proper risk assessment and medical care, the risk of developing a DVT can be reduced," explained Dr. Geno Merli, Coalition to Prevent DVT Steering Committee member and Chief Medical Officer at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia. "Through the past 10 years, the Coalition has worked tirelessly to continue to sustain awareness among patients and healthcare providers alike in an effort to maintain an open and ongoing dialogue about the risk factors and signs and symptoms of DVT. We're very proud of the Coalition's accomplishments but know there is still more to do."
Healthcare professionals are encouraged to strengthen the dialogue with patients about ways to reduce the risk of DVT – including increasing movement and stretching as one way to increase blood circulation.
The Coalition's website, www.preventdvt.org invites both patients and healthcare professionals to obtain educational information, downloadable tools and resources to assist in generating further public awareness and education.
About DVT Awareness Month
In 2005, the United States Senate officially declared March as DVT Awareness Month. DVT Awareness Month is championed by the Coalition to Prevent DVT to raise awareness of this serious medical condition among consumers, healthcare professionals and public health leaders.
About the Coalition to Prevent DVT
The mission of the Coalition to Prevent DVT is to reduce the immediate and long-term dangers of DVT and PE, which together make up one of the nation's leading causes of death. The Coalition will educate the public, healthcare professionals and policy-makers about risk factors, symptoms and signs associated with DVT, as well as identify evidence-based measures to reduce the risk of morbidity and mortality from DVT and PE. The Coalition is composed of more than 70 members from medical societies, patient advocacy groups and other public health organizations dedicated to raising awareness of this serious medical condition.
The Coalition to Prevent Deep-Vein Thrombosis is funded by Sanofi US.
For more information, visit www.preventdvt.org.
 Goldhaber SZ. Deep vein thrombosis: advancing awareness to protect patient lives. White paper. American Public Health Association; Public Health Leadership Conference: Washington, DC: Feb. 26, 2003.
 Gerotziafas GT, Samama MM. Prophylaxis of venous thromboembolism medical patients. CurrOpin PulmMed. 2004;10:356-365.
 Heit JA, Cohen AT, Anderson FA et al. on behalf of the VTE Impact Assessment Group. Estimated annual number of incident and recurrent, non-fatal and fatal venous thromboembolism (VTE) events in the U.S. Poster 68 presented at: American Society of Hematology, 47th Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA, December 10-13, 2005.
 Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Appendix A: Talking Points to Attract Administration Support for Venous Thromboembolism Prevention Programs. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; January 2012. http://www.ahrq.gov/qual/vtguide/vtguideapa.htm. Accessed Feb. 25, 2013.
 Geerts WH, Pineo GF, Heit JA, et al. Prevention of venous thromboembolism: The American College of Chest Physicians Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guidelines. Chest. 2008;133;381S-453S.
Contact: Claire Anselmo/Julie Knell
Office: (212) 614-4967/(412) 394-6613
SOURCE Coalition to Prevent Deep-Vein Thrombosis