Stop the clot to stop harm

A hospital patient wearing compression socks, which can be useful in avoiding thrombosis.

What condition contributes to one in four deaths worldwide?

You might guess cancer, heart disease or stroke but the surprising answer is thrombosis.

Thrombosis is the formation of blood clots in an artery or vein that can slow or even block normal blood flow.

This condition can turn deadly if a clot forms in the body and moves to the lungs – a condition known as venous thromboembolism (VTE).

World Thrombosis Day (October 13) is dedicated to raising awareness of the condition, which often occurs following surgery, during cancer treatment or during long periods of staying still, such as during an extended hospital stay.

Associate Professor Kerry Hitos, director of the Westmead Research Centre for Evaluation of Surgical Outcomes, said every hospital patient should be assessed for their risk.

“If you’re admitted to the hospital or if you are having surgery, you can be proactive by asking your doctor for a VTE risk assessment and advice on ways to reduce your risk. Don’t be afraid – it could save your life,” A/Prof Kerry Hitos said.

“You can reduce your risk of thrombosis by staying active and exercising regularly, avoiding long periods of staying still, and losing weight if you are overweight.

“You can also talk to your doctor about wearing compression stockings during a hospital stay, or taking blood thinning medication if you are at risk.”

Common signs and symptoms for thrombosis include:

  • Pain and/or tenderness in the calf or thigh
  • Swelling of the leg, foot or ankle
  • Redness and/or noticeable discoloration and/or warmth of the leg, foot or ankle
  • Shortness of breath or rapid breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Light-headedness and/or passing out

For more information please contact A/Prof Kerry Hitos on 8890 6302 or see the World Thrombosis Day Facebook page.