Did you know it is currently National Thrombosis Week this week?

The purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness and educate the public and health care professionals about symptoms and signs of thrombosis, it’s causes and effect but also provide information about treatments and where possible, prevention.

Thrombosis is when a blood clot forms within a blood vessel, reducing or stopping the flow of blood.  When a clot forms in the leg, this is called Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) which if not treated runs the risk of travelling from the leg to the lung, causing a Pulmonary Embolism (PE).  DVT and PE are also known as VTE – Venous Thrombo Embolism.

Deep Vein Thrombosis may be suspected if a patient’s leg is red, swollen and painful although it is worth noting that sometimes a DVT can be symptomless!  Fortunately, if DVT is diagnosed quickly it can be easily treated with anticoagulants.

There are various reasons that can increase the risk of DVT developing, for instance:

  • Obesity;
  • Previous DVT or PE;
  • Long periods of inactivity during the day;
  • Previous family history of thrombosis;
  • Long distance journeys;
  • Extended hospital stays for surgery – especially on hips or knees;
  • Having cancer and its treatment;
  • Being pregnant;
  • Using the combined oral contraceptive
  • Using hormone replacement therapy.

The risk of acquiring a DVT is quite low so prevention advice tends to be aimed at those that are at a higher risk.  In order to reduce the risk of DVT developing or to prevent one from coming back, remaining active and avoiding long periods of immobility could help as well as living a healthy lifestyle, eating a balanced diet and cutting down on salt.  It is also advisable to quit smoking and reduce your alcohol intake.  There is also a big drive within hospitals to ensure VTE assessments are carried out on patients to reduce the risk of hospital acquired clots.

GP Care understands how DVT can affect a patient’s life.  We have been running a very successful NHS Community DVT diagnostic and treatment service in North Bristol and South Gloucestershire for the last 8 years.  Our aim is to keep patients out of hospital, have quick access to an ultrasound scan by offering a same or next day appointment and be able to receive community based anticoagulation for patients with a confirmed DVT.  Patients requiring treatment are given a choice of Direct Oral Anti Coagulants (Rivaroxaban or Apixiban) or warfarin and are monitored closely until stable then discharged back to their own GP, with a full record of treatment, for ongoing management.

To date we have helped over 10,000 patients by providing our service and we are very proud to have won a Thrombus Award twice as well as the Laing & Buisson Independent Healthcare Award 2012 for Healthcare Outcomes in recognition of this innovative and patient focused service.

If you would like to find out more about our NHS Community DVT Service, please click here.  You can also find out more information about National Thrombosis Week and the work that the Thrombosis UK charity do here.

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