08.14.16 Dr. Garth Rosenberg Blood Clots and Flying

Learn How to Increase Awareness of Blood Clots

Blood clots are a critical health problem for the population at large as the incidence of DVT and phlebitis has been increasing. The National Blood Clot Alliance (NBCA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have kicked off the next phase of their widely acclaimed Stop the Clot, Spread the Word™ campaign, with an important focus on blood clot risk reduction among hospitalized patients.

DVT diagram

Nearly 900,000 people Americans are affected by blood clots each year. About half of these blood clots occur during a hospital stay, or within 90 days of an inpatient hospital admission or surgical procedure, with many diagnosed after discharge. This is why patients should be aware of leg pain or swelling when they are home recovering. About 100,000 people die due to blood clots each year, which is greater than the annual number of deaths in the U.S. due to AIDS, breast cancer, and motor vehicle crashes combined!

Of course, anyone can develop blood clots, but people who are currently or recently hospitalized, recovering from surgery, or receiving cancer treatment are at increased risk. Patients with a family history of blood clots are also at increased risk as there may be a genetic predisposition to thrombus formation. Factor V Leyden is a common genetic defect that increases the clot risk. Patients with varicose veins are also at increased risk for clot formation as the flow in these enlarged twisted veins is abnormal.

Fortunately, the diagnosis of a venous blood clot is rather simply done with a venous ultrasound exam that painlessly examines the flow. If a deep vein blood clot (DVT) is identified, we can start oral blood thinners that work immediately to reduce the chance of that clot moving to the heart or lungs.

Reducing your risk of blood clots is critically important and eliminating the risk posed by varicose veins is easily done using office based procedures. For example, if saphenous vein reflux is seen on a venous duplex scan, ablation using a heated wire can correct the abnormal blood flow and restore normal circulation to the leg. The VNUS Closure Procedure is done under local anesthesia and allows immediate return to normal activity.

If you are concerned about a blood clot in your leg, be sure to seek medical attention so a critical health situation can be identified and treated if necessary.

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