Deadly Condition Hits Many Hospital Patients
Hundreds of thousands of hospital patients suffer a potentially deadly clotting disorder that could be avoided, according to a report from the federal Centers for Disease Control.
Based on statistics from 2007-2009, each year an average of 547,000 hospitalized patients suffer venous thromboembolism, or VTE, the CDC said. The condition is a combination of deep vein thrombosis (a clot in a deep vein, usually in the leg or thigh), and a pulmonary embolism (a clot in the lungs) and can be fatal.
It is most common in older people, and the frequency rises sharply with age. According to CDC statistics, 200 people per 100,000 in the 50-59 age group have VTE, while the figure for the 60-69 grouop was almost double: 391.
In a statement, the CDC said that VTE is a “growing health concern.” Many cases could be avoided, they said, by “evidence-based prevention” – i.e. a closer look by doctors at patients, hospitalized for other conditions, who could potentially develop VTE. The condition is treated with drugs or mechanical devices such as pumps.
The agency recommended that people going into the hospital should discuss VTE and prevention strategies with their doctor.