March is Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Awareness Month, a multifaceted campaign aimed at raising awareness among patients, health care professionals, and policy makers about DVT and pulmonary embolism (PE) on a national and local level. The Coalition to Prevent DVT has spearheaded DVT Awareness Month efforts since its launch in March 2003. According to the American Heart Association, almost 2 million Americans are affected annually by DVT. Of those who develop PE, up to 200,000 will die each year.
Despite these statistics, a national survey sponsored by the American Public Health Association showed that 74% of Americans have little or no awareness of DVT. Despite the presence of multiple risk factors and overwhelming data that prophylaxis is very effective at reducing these events, 58% of patients who developed a DVT while in the hospital received no preventive treatment.
Pharmacists are encouraged to take the time to make their patients aware of the risk factors for and symptoms of DVT and PE. For more information visit www.preventdvt.org.
Dr. Garrett is a clinical pharmacist practitioner at Cornerstone Health Care in High Point, NC.