March is National Blood Clot Awareness Month--Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and Pulmonary Embolism (PE)
For National Blood Clot Awareness Month, NASCAR driver Brian Vickers put forth a challenge. For every lap he leads during March--in either the Nationwide or Sprint Cup Series--he is going to donate $10 a lap, with a minimum $2,000 donation to Clot Connect. The Clot Connect logo and website address will be on Vicker’s car during March. (above is the paint scheme for the March 17 race in Bristol)
Early in the 2010 season, Vickers was diagnosed with blood clots that forced him to miss the remainder of the season. Vickers worked with physicians at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Clot Connect who helped him make informed decisions.
“It was a battle I couldn’t conquer alone,” said Vickers. “UNC Chapel Hill and Clot Connect together were instrumental in providing valuable information that helped me make informative decisions on my treatment plan.”
Vickers has encouraged his friends, partners, and fans to participate in the March fundraising and blood clot awareness challenge. Individuals and organizations are getting involved by either making a donation, matching Vicker’s donation or pledging some variation, such as $1 a lap. We have also heard from fans who have experienced a blood clot themselves and they express a first-hand appreciation for what the connection to educational information means to them personally. We are deeply honored by the outpouring of community support.
We gratefully acknowledge the generous support of those who have pledged either financial contributions or in-kind services and support for the March campaign:
The Jimmie Johnson Foundation
The NASCAR Foundation
Joe Gibbs Racing
Michael Waltrip Racing
RK Motors Charlotte
We appreciate the support of Clot Connect and our mission to connect patients and healthcare professionals to accurate information about blood clot prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Upwards of 600,000 Americans each year are affected by blood clots (deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism) and the need for education of both patients and healthcare professionals is great. Many blood clots and their complications are preventable. Currently around 30,000 persons per month utilize Clot Clonnect's web-based education resources. Donations enable us to reach more people with life-saving and life-changing educational information.
About Clot Connect:
Clot Connect, www.clotconnect.org, is an education outreach program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill which serves as a comprehensive clearinghouse for reliable, clinically-relevant information on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of blood clots called deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE). It is the only education program of its kind in the country.
Clot Connect's outreach is funded through donations and grants; the program currently receives no federal, state or university financial support. Please consider supporting Clot Connect's work by making a tax-deductible financial contribution.
Did you know?
- Blood clots (DVT and PE) affect upwards of 600,000 Americans each year and cause more deaths each year than the more well-publicized conditions of breast cancer, AIDS,and motor vehicle accidents.[i]
- Blood clots are a leading cause of preventable hospital deaths in the United States. [ii]
- Blood clots are the leading cause of maternal death in the United States.[iii]
- One-half of clot patients will have long-term complications and one-third will have a recurrence within 10 years.[iv]
- An estimated $10 billion in medical costs in the US each year can be attributed to DVT and PE.[v]
What is DVT?
When a clot forms in the deep veins of the body, it is called deep vein thrombosis, often referred to as DVT for short. DVT occurs most commonly in the leg; although it can occur anywhere in the body, such as the veins in the arm, abdomen, or around the brain.
Symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT):
- Discoloration (bluish, purplish or reddish skin color)
A potentially life-threatening complication of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is pulmonary embolism, often referred to as PE for short. A PE occurs when a blood clot breaks off, travels through the blood stream and lodges in the lung.
Symptoms of Pulmonary Embolism (PE):
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain (which may be worse with deep breath)
- Unexplained cough (may cough up blood)
- Unexplained rapid heart rate
What Causes Blood Clots (DVT and PE)?
Blood clots may form when either the flow of blood in a vein slows, damage to a vein occurs, or the blood is more clotable. Many factors can increase a person’s risk for developing a blood clot in a vein. Common risk factors for developing a blood clot include:
· Being paralyzed
· Prolonged sitting
Surgery and Trauma:
· Major surgery (especially of the pelvis, abdomen, hip, knee)
· Bone fracture or cast
· Catheter in a big vein (PICC line, central venous catheter, or port)
· Birth control pills, patches, rings
· Pregnancy, including up to 6 weeks after giving birth
· Estrogen and progestin hormone therapy
· Cancer and chemotherapy
· Heart failure
· Inflammatory disorders (lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease)
· The kidney disorder called nephrotic syndrome
Other risk factors:
· Previous blood clot
· Family history of clots
· Clotting disorder (inherited or acquired)
· Older age
· Cigarette smoking
· Varicose veins
Tips for Preventing Blood Clots (DVT and PE)
- Stay active. Immobility increases the risk of developing clots. If you've been sitting for a long period of time (such as long-distance travel) stop and take a break to stretch your legs.
- Maintain an ideal body weight.
- Know your risk factors for developing a clot (above) and discuss these with your doctor.
- Know your family medical history. Make sure your doctor knows about any history of blood clots.
- If you are hospitalized or planning for surgery, ask your doctor: ‘What will be done to prevent blood clots?’ You may be given a blood-thinning medication (anticoagulant) or special stockings designed to prevent blood clots. These blood clot prevention measures are called 'DVT prophylaxis'.
Clot Connect, www.clotconnect.org, is an outreach program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill which aims to address the need for improved education by serving as a comprehensive clearinghouse for reliable, clinically relevant information on prevention, diagnosis and treatment of blood clots. It is the only education program of its kind in the country. About 30,000 persons per month utilize the web based education resources and it is growing.
Many blood clots and their complications are preventable. The goal of education is to reduce morbidity and mortality from blood clots, which translates into:
- Fewer DVT and PE. DVT treatment costs alone are approximately $20,000 per patient with PE costs much higher.[vi]
- Fewer readmissions (due to poor anticoagulation management such as bleeds, recurrent clot). Among patients with a first time venous clot hospitalization, one study found that 25% had a hospital readmission with an average cost of $15,000.[vii]
- Less Emergency Room utilization (due to bleeds from anticoagulation, post-clot pain management)
- Fewer adverse outcomes (such as bleeding, post-thrombotic syndrome, pulmonary hypertension, recurrent clot)
In short, greater clot education can lead to better health care and better patient outcomes, at lower costs.
Contact Beth Waldron
Program Director, Clot Connect
Hemophilia and Thrombosis Center,
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Direct message @ClotConnect on Twitter
[i] Nabel, Elizabeth MD (Director, NIH’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute) in the Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism US Department of Health and Human Services 2008 p. 5.
[ii] Baglin TP, White K, Charles A. Fatal pulmonary embolism in hospitalized medical patients. J Clin Pathol 1997;50(7):609-10.
[iii] Berg CJ, Atrash HK, Koonin LM, Tucker M. “Pregnancy-related mortality in the United States 1987-1990”. Obstet Gynecol 1996;88(2):161-7 Also see Marik. P.E. and Plante, L.A. “Venous Thromboembolic Disease and Pregnancy”. New England Journal of Medicine, volume 359, number 19, November 6, 2008, pages 2025-2033.
[v] Gross, Scott. CDC “Incidence based cost-estimates require population based incidence data” 2012 http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/Grosse/cost-grosse-Thrombosis.pdf
[vi] Mahan et al “Deep vein thrombosis: A United States cost model for a preventable and costly adverse event” Journal of Thrombosis and Hemostasis 2011; 106: 405-415
[vii] Spyropoulos AC, Lin J. Direct medical costs of venous thromboembolism and subsequent hospital readmission rates: an administrative claims analysis from 30 managed care organizations. J Manag Care Pharm.2007; 13: 475−486.
On January 25, Clot Connect participated in the North Carolina Safe Surgery Conference, sponsored by the NC Center for Hospital Quality and Patient Safety. The event brought together organizations and health care professionals committed to making surgical care a safer experience for patients.
Clot Connect’s Program Director, Beth Waldron, spoke at the conference, calling upon attendees to recognize deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) as an important patient safety issue and encouraging the use of Clot Connect’s educational resources.
Rob Charlier, a patient from Raleigh, NC, presented his personal experience with deep vein thrombosis following orthopedic surgery last year.
The event kicked off the NC Safe Surgery Collaborative in which participating hospitals will work together in a statewide collaborative designed to improve perioperative safety by implementing core, evidence-based interventions within the context of an open learning network. A goal of the collaborative is to reduce post-surgical DVT and PE rates by 25%.
Expanded education of both patients and health care professionals plays an important role in addressing hospital-associated blood clots. It is estimated that 40% or more of hospital-associated clots could be prevented with enhanced prophylaxis (clot prevention measures). Clot Connect is pleased to lend support to clot prevention efforts as part of our educational outreach mission.
A new series of educational videos for patients who have experienced deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism (PE) are now available on the Clot Connect website and via YouTube.
Clot Connect's first patient education webinar was held on November 16, 2011. Dr. Stephan Moll, hematologist with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, discussed "DVT and PE: What Patients Need to Know". The content of this webinar event was recorded and has been converted into a series of nine videos, easily accessible by topic.
Topics presented in the "What Patients Need to Know" videos include:
- The Basics of Blood Clotting
- Differences between artery and vein clots
- How long to treat with blood thinners (anticoagulants)
- New blood thinners emerging
- Post-thrombotic syndrome
- Fluctuating INRs
- Birth control options and clot risk
To view the videos on the Clot Connect website, click here
Clot Connect's YouTube channel can be found here.
Blood Clots (DVT and PE): What Patients Need to Know
November 16, 2011
Clot Connect is pleased to announce its first patient education webinar, scheduled for November 16, 2011 at 3PM ET. "Blood Clots (DVT and PE): What Patients Need to Know" is an interactive webinar designed for persons who have experienced deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism (PE). Presented by Dr. Stephan Moll, a hematologist of the University of North Carolina Thrombosis Center, topics will include venous blood clots, clotting disorders and treatment issues. The webinar lasts approximately 60 minutes including time for questions. Space is limited, early registration is encouraged. Register here.
Have a question you'd like to see addressed during the webinar? You can submit questions or desired topics to cover in advance using the 'Questions/Comments' box on the registrations form. While we will make an effort to address questions during the webinar, there is no guarantee that all questions will be covered.
We respect your privacy. Your contact information provided during registration will only be used to communicate with you about this webinar event.
To learn about future webinar events and stay informed about Clot Connect resources, sign-up for our monthly newsletter using the sign-up button to the right.
If you cannot attend this live event, it will be recorded and posted on the clotconnect.org website for viewing afterwards.
This webinar is provided by Clot Connect, an initiative of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Blood Clot Outreach Program.
Blood clots (deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism) can happen to anyone, at any age. Although blood clots are a common medical condition, there exists low public awareness of the signs and symptoms.
NASCAR driver Brian Vickers is a 27 year-old athlete who experienced deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism in May 2010 which forced him to spend nine-months off the track.
“Looking back, the signs and symptoms were there, probably for weeks, before I went to the hospital.” Vickers said. “Like most people, I didn’t know the signs and symptoms of a blood clot or I would have gotten checked out sooner.”
Vickers returned to racing in 2011 with a desire to promote greater public awareness of blood clots. On June 8, Vickers participated in the 2011 Prelude to the Dream event, a dirt-track race where drivers compete not for points and winnings, but for charity. The event, held at Eldora Speedway in Ohio, was televised nationally on HBO pay-per-view. For the event, Vickers wrapped his car with the Clot Connect logo and web address, to bring more awareness to where people can obtain information on blood clots.
“If a blood clot can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.” Vickers said. “People need to know the signs and symptoms of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. Just as important, if they think they might have a clot, they need to get medical help right way. Don’t delay.”
Thanks to everyone who helped make possible the #83 ClotConnect.org car's participation at the 2011 Prelude to the Dream event. Thank you for supporting greater blood clot education and awareness!