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Venous thromboembolism (VTE), blood clots occurring as deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE), or both, is an important and growing public health issue. DVT and PE are serious but preventable medical conditions caused by blood clots that form in a vein. Each year blood clots affect as many as 900,000 Americans, resulting in about 100,000 premature deaths.
People who are currently or recently hospitalized, recovering from surgery, or being treated for cancer are at increased risk of developing serious and potentially deadly blood clots. A blood clot that occurs as a result of hospitalization, surgery, or other healthcare treatment or procedure is also called healthcare-associated venous thromboembolism (HA-VTE). Although anyone can develop a blood clot, more than half of all blood clots are related to a recent hospitalization or surgery. Most of these blood clots do not occur until after discharge. In addition, more and more people have one or more factors that can increase their risk for a blood clot.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Activities
Preventing HA-VTE in patients can lead to a major decrease in overall VTE occurrence, illness, financial costs, and death. Reducing HA-VTE has been the subject of a number of patient safety and public health programs developed and promoted by federal agencies including Healthy People 2020.
CDC recognizes the need to guide, improve, and advance prevention efforts to ensure that VTE prevention is a priority across the nation’s healthcare settings. This topic was the focus of the January 15, 2013, CDC Public Health Grand Rounds, and the information presented was summarized in a subsequent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Nationally, CDC’s work has guided and fostered VTE research and informed efforts throughout the country, including the Surgeon General’s Call to Actio on preventing VTE. Here are more examples of CDC’s work:
CDC is working with two pilot programs at Duke University Medical Center and University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center to assess and better understand VTE occurrence. These two pilot programs will help CDC
Develop and evaluate methods and electronic tools to monitor the occurrence of VTE, including those that are healthcare-associated;
Provide a more accurate picture of the health and economic impact of VTE (and HA-VTE), which will include identifying people who are in high-risk groups or in high-risk settings; and
Inform the development of improved healthcare monitoring tools to measure the success of prevention activities by tracking and monitoring trends in HA-VTE occurrence over time.
CDC recognized eight hospitals and healthcare systems as Healthcare-Associated Venous Thromboembolism Prevention Champions for their success in implementing innovative and effective ways to prevent VTE. Read about the 2016 VTE Prevention Challenge. CDC also published a special journal supplement of the Journal of Hospital Medicine on the findings of this work, titled ” Preventing Hospital-Acquired Venous Thromboembolism: Lessons from the Field.”
CDC has worked with Emory University to evaluate an electronic tool for accurately identifying VTE events reported in electronic medical records.
CDC has brought together experts on VTE to inform, promote, and guide our activities around CDC’s monitoring and prevention of HA-VTE. See 2011 and 2012 meeting summaries.
In addition, in 2015 CDC funded the National Blood Clot Alliance to develop a national digital media campaign that promotes the awareness of the signs, symptoms, and factors that increase the risk for blood clots. Newly released campaign materials encourage people headed to the hospital or just returning home from a hospital stay to ask themselves one potentially life-saving question: What is the plan for blood clot prevention surrounding my hospital stay?
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