New National Performance Measures Issue
Mandate to Reduce Incidence of Deep-Vein Thrombosis
Coalition to Prevent Deep-Vein Thrombosis
Washington, D.C., February 1, 2007 - The Coalition to Prevent Deep-Vein Thrombosis (DVT) today applauds new National Quality Forum (NQF) performance measures establishing nationwide preventive standards for Venous Thromboembolism (VTE), a condition that claims up to 300,000 American lives annually.
Venous Thromboembolism, which includes DVT and its complication, pulmonary embolism, (PE), is the most common preventable cause of hospital death. Each year, more lives are lost to complications of DVT than from breast cancer and AIDS combined. To address this issue, the two NQF endorsed publicly reported performance measures direct proper risk reduction and treatment practices for surgical patients.
"These new standards make DVT prophylaxis obligatory, not optional, which is a great step forward in protecting the health of our patients," said Coalition Steering Committee Member Samuel Z. Goldhaber, M.D., Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Staff Cardiologist, Brigham and Women's Hospital; Member, NQF Consensus Standards Steering Committee.
Surgical patients are known to be at higher risk for DVT, therefore the performance measures assess the number of surgical patients who are directed to receive preventive treatment for VTE, and the treatment received in the 48 hours surrounding surgery.
A vital step in the development of universal healthcare practices to reduce the risk of DVT and its complications, the performance measures lay the foundation for additional upcoming "National Consensus Standards for the Prevention and Care of VTE" currently being developed by the Joint Commission on Healthcare Accreditation (JCAHO) under contract with NQF.
Dr. Goldhaber stated, "The medical community recognizes that up two million Americans are affected each year by DVT. Once the JCAHO and NQF standards are fully integrated into the daily practice of healthcare systems across the country, we can be assured that the healthcare community is doing its best to address this potentially fatal condition."
"The members of the Coalition to Prevent DVT have worked tirelessly to increase public awareness of DVT and we welcome the NQF measures as a vital step to help other individuals hopefully avoid the experience that my family has had with DVT," said Coalition to Prevent DVT National Patient Spokesperson Melanie Bloom, widow of NBC Correspondent David Bloom. Melanie Bloom is a member of the NQF VTE Consensus Standards Steering Committee.
About Deep-Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism
DVT occurs when a thrombus (blood clot) forms in one of the large veins, usually in the lower limbs, leading to either partially or completely blocked circulation. If left untreated, this clot has the potential to move into the lungs and block circulation to this vital organ creating a life threatening condition - known as pulmonary embolism (PE) - requiring immediate medical attention. Up to 900,000 Americans are hospitalized each year for DVT and its primary complication, PE.
Certain individuals may be at increased risk for developing DVT; however, it can occur in almost anyone. Additional risk factors include, but are not limited to restricted mobility, cancer, certain heart or respiratory diseases, major surgery, such as hip or knee replacements, advanced age, oral contraceptives or hormone therapy.
It is important to consult your healthcare provider about the signs and symptoms associated with DVT. Click here to learn more about deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
The Coalition to Prevent Deep-Vein Thrombosis is funded by sanofi-aventis U.S., LLC.
About the Coalition to Prevent Deep-Vein Thrombosis
In February 2003, more than 60 organizations assembled at the Public Health Leadership Conference on Deep-Vein Thrombosis in Washington, D.C. to discuss the urgent need to make DVT a major U.S. public health priority. As a result of this meeting, which was co-hosted by the American Public Health Association and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and funded by sanofi-aventis, participants agreed to establish a Coalition of organizations committed to educating the public and healthcare community about DVT. To date, 41 organizations have joined the Coalition to Prevent Deep-Vein Thrombosis, comprised of national thought leaders and representatives from key organizations, including the American College of Chest Physicians, the American Public Health Association and the Society of Hospital Medicine.
The mission of the Coalition to Prevent Deep-Vein Thrombosis is:
To reduce the immediate and long-term dangers of deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE), which together comprise one of the nation’s leading causes of death. The Coalition will educate the public, healthcare professionals and policy-makers about risk factors, symptoms and signs associated with DVT, as well as identify evidence-based measures to prevent morbidity and mortality from DVT and PE.
The website of the Coalition to Prevent Deep-Vein Thrombosis is www.preventdvt.org.
Click here to read about DVT Awareness Month 2007.