DVT Alert – A Spring Awareness Campaign

I received phone call last week from a publicist at Burson-Marsteller. This was unusual on many counts.

  • 1. it was a phone call (I miss that)
  • 2. I don’t have any personal contacts with flacks there
  • 3. she was calling about a medical story, not my usual beat
  • At first I assumed she found me because of my blog, but I noticed when she followed up via email that she had my writer email address, not my blogger address. Hmmm… She led right off with Deep Vein Thrombosis and she sounded surprised that I knew what that was.

    Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolisms can be lethal. I’ve never had one, but I well remember the scare. It was during my cancer war days and I, an in-patient, fainted while seated in a wheelchair enroute to my room following a CT scan. When I came to, moments later, I was on a gurney and already on my way to Intensive Care because the doctors feared that I might have thrown a clot. They kept me there for 48-hours, just in case. In addition to the chemo lines, trachea and gastro tubes, I was now connected to the EKG, pulse, oxygen, and other monitors; tethered in every possible way. Those 48 hours were scarier than the cancer.

    DVT occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep vein, usually in the lower limbs. A complication of DVT, pulmonary embolism, can occur when a fragment of a blood clot breaks loose from the wall of the vein and migrates to the lungs, where it blocks a pulmonary artery or one of its branches.

    Anyway, six years ago, March was proclaimed National DVT Awareness Month and the Coalition to Prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis is on a mission to educate Americans about the dangers. Their National Patient Spokesperson is Melanie Bloom, widow of NBC news correspondent David Bloom who died in Iraq due to complications of DVT, and they’ve recently announced Driving to Reduce the Risks of DVT, a nationwide mobile campaign designed to encourage dialogue between healthcare professionals and patients about this serious but preventable condition.


    The customized recreational vehicle is currently visiting hospitals and local communities. They started off on March 3rd in Washington DC. On Tuesday the 10th they’ll be in the big apple, stopping first at Rockefeller Center for The Today Show and then the Weill Cornell Medical Center. Another highlight will be a stop at the Metrodome for a Minneapolis Twins baseball game on May 12th, but mostly they’ll be visiting hospitals and universities. Other strops include Richmond, Atlanta, Orlando, Dallas, San Antonio, Pheonix, Sacramento, Las Vegas, Denver, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Columbus, ending in Pittsburgh on May 23rd.

    Here are a few more scary facts:

      Complications from DVT kill more people each year in the U.S. than breast cancer and AIDS combined.
      In the United States, DVT affects up to 2 million people annually.
      Approximately 300,000 Americans die each year from a pulmonary embolism, the majority of which result from DVT
      DVT-related pulmonary embolisms are the most common cause of preventable hospital death

    And here is their factsheet.

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