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Hospital Patients' Blood Clot Risk High
Date:1/31/2008

But international study finds many aren't getting preventive treatments

THURSDAY, Jan. 31 (HealthDay News) -- More than half the patients in hospitals worldwide risk developing dangerous blood clots known as venous thromboembolisms, yet many aren't receiving treatments that could prevent the condition, a large international study shows.

"Venous thromboembolism has long been recognized to be one of the most common avoidable causes of death associated with hospital stay," said study co-author Dr. Ajay Kakkar, a professor of surgical sciences at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry in the United Kingdom. "What was interesting from this study was how commonly risk factors for blood clots are found in patients admitted to hospital and the variations in the provision of preventative measures."

The study, published in the Feb. 2 issue of The Lancet, covered 358 hospitals in 32 countries and included all hospital inpatients over 40 admitted to a medical ward and those aged 18 or over admitted to a surgical ward.

Participants were assessed for VTE risk based on a review of their hospital charts.

Out of a total of 68,183 patients, only 58.5 percent of at-risk surgical patients and 39.5 percent of at-risk medical patients received recommended preventive treatments.

The consistency of risk reported throughout the countries studied was surprising, according to the study's lead author, Dr. Alexander Cohen, an honorary consultant and vascular physician at King's College London.

But, he added, "the great variation in prevention use and the fact that all countries were suboptimal, with the U.K. somewhere in the middle, were not surprising."

In the study, the proportion of at-risk medical patients receiving the appropriate treatment varied by country, with Germany (70 percent), Spain (64 percent) and Colombia (64 percent) rating the highest, and Bangladesh (3 percen
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