Dr. Garrett is manager of the Health Education Center at Mission Hospitals in Asheville, North Carolina.
March is DVT Awareness Month
Seven years ago, NBC correspondent David Bloom died from a pulmonary embolus (PE) he suffered while covering the war in Iraq. He was embedded with a military unit and riding in a tank for long periods of time when the event occurred. Since then, his wife, Melanie, has campaigned to raise awareness of the dangers of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Her work culminated with the declaration of March as DVT Awareness Month.
According to the American Heart Association, up to 2 million Americans are affected annually by DVT. Of those who develop a PE, up to 200,000 will die each year. More Americans die annually from DVT/PE than from breast cancer and AIDS combined. 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. Even more disturbing is the fact that 58% of patients who developed a DVT while in the hospital received no preventive treatment, despite the presence of multiple risk factors and overwhelming data that prophylaxis is very effective at reducing these events.
An extensive listing of DVT Awareness Month tools and activities is posted at www.clotcare.com. Get involved! You may help save a life.