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Daiichi Sankyo helps raise awareness of VTE and AF

13 October 2015  •  Author: Daiichi Sankyo

Daiichi Sankyo has teamed up with World Thrombosis Day to promote awareness of thrombosis, its causes, risk factors, and signs and symptoms.

vte

Thrombosis is the formation of potentially deadly blood clots in the vein (venous thrombosis) – resulting in venous thromboembolism (VTE) – or the artery (arterial thrombosis) – a major cause of stroke in those with atrial fibrillation (AF).

VTE is the leading cause of preventable death in hospitals

VTE is the collective term for deep vein thrombosis (DVT), where clots form in deep veins such as in the leg, and pulmonary embolism (PE), where a clot breaks off and travels up to the lungs. It is the leading cause of preventable death in hospitals. VTE is associated with over 370,000 deaths every year in the EU alone so people need to be aware and ‘think VTE’.

Commenting on today’s initiative, Dr Harry R. Büller, Professor of Internal Medicine, Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, said, “Today we’re calling on healthcare professionals and policy makers to prioritise the implementation of VTE risk assessments to help reduce the threat posed by this disease. We’re also calling for greater public awareness and knowledge of the signs and symptoms of VTE in order to empower individuals to act quickly to seek medical attention. The World Thrombosis Day campaign can play a key part in helping to reduce the mortality associated with VTE.”

VTE risk assessments have been shown to significantly reduce mortality. A routine risk assessment should be conducted by a doctor or nurse on all surgical and medical patients with reduced mobility. Risk factors such as a history of blood clots, obesity, previous surgery, pregnancy and use of contraceptive pills should also be accounted for in the assessment. Presence of one or more of these factors may indicate the need for anticoagulant medicine.

A new interactive infographic explains more about VTE and AF

Arterial thrombosis can occur as a result of AF, in which the heartbeat is rapid and irregular. With an irregular heartbeat, blood flow may slow or pool and cause the formation of a clot; if the clot breaks free, it can lodge in an artery, travel to the brain and result in a stroke. Thus all AF patients should be assessed for their risk of stroke.

Up to 20% of people with AF experience no symptoms, particularly if their heart rate is not that fast. As such, many patients are not diagnosed early enough and an acute stroke is a common first presentation of AF. A simple pulse check can quickly indicate the presence of AF for many.

Professor John Camm, Professor of Clinical Cardiology at St. George’s University London and Professor of Cardiology at Imperial College London, comments, “An irregular pulse can be a strong indicator of AF, and so in asking the public and healthcare providers to carry out simple pulse checks as a matter of course, we can help ensure that many of those at risk of suffering strokes are prompted to receive the treatments they need to reduce this risk. Enabling patients to be properly anticoagulated is an essential step in reducing the disease burden, with AF-related strokes accounting for 15% of the 15 million strokes that occur globally every year.”

Daiichi Sankyo has produced an interactive infographic with further information on AF, VTE and the importance of AF pulse checks and VTE risk assessments.

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