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Damaged veins heal faster with heparin treatment, laboratory study finds
Date:3/13/2008

DVT. Thats the term for blood clots that form in the veins of the lower limbs, clinging to and damaging the vein wall. When such clots break free and travel to the lungs, theyre called pulmonary embolisms or PEs.

A million Americans each year suffer DVTs, many of them during a hospital stay and many of them without symptoms. About half go on to develop a PE, which causes sudden symptoms and must be treated immediately. Still, more than half of PE patients will die making the condition one of the most preventable causes of death among hospitalized patients.

LMWH is increasingly prescribed to hospitalized patients who might be at risk of developing DVTs and PEs, especially older people, surgical patients, and people with a personal or family history of clotting problems. DVTs are especially likely to form in legs that are immobile for long periods of time, that have been injured, or that have poor circulation. Cancer patients, pregnant women, and overweight people are also at higher risk of developing one.

As the bodys own repair mechanisms break down the clot, they often leave behind a small patch of damaged vein wall that is never fully repaired, and interferes with the veins ability to push blood back up to the heart a situation called chronic venous insufficiency. The damaged area may also be more hospitable for future clot formation.

LMWH helps encourage the breaking up of clots, and prevents new ones from forming. So, the U-M researchers, led by Henke and former U-M medical student Daria Moaveni, M.D., set out to see how the cells of the vein wall, or endothelium, react to a DVT when the drug is present.

First, they studied the natural history of DVTs by performing detailed molecular analyses of the vein wall tissue in the area of a clot after one, four and 14 days.

They found that the clots grew over the first four days, then began to shrink as the bodys repair mechanisms kicked in. Using a special
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Contact: Kara Gavin
kegavin@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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