Today is World Thrombosis Day, an international event to focus attention on this growing health issue. Thrombosis (meaning blood clot) is the formation of blood clots in arteries (arterial thrombosis) or vein (venous thrombosis) which can have potentially fatal consequences. A thrombosis can either remain in place and block blood flow or break loose, travelling elsewhere to become lodged in an organ or blood vessel, known as an embolism.
Oftentimes, thrombosis is the underlying mechanism behind the three most deadly cardiovascular events: heart attack, thromboembolic stroke, and venous thromboembolism. Arterial thrombosis alone causes more than 10 million deaths per year, making it a major disease burden worldwide.
Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is when a thrombosis forms in a deep vein (deep vein thrombosis, or DVT), breaks free, and lodges in the lungs (pulmonary embolism). A pulmonary embolism is a serious medical issue and requires immediate attention, but is also preventable. Pulmonary embolism is a common complication in critically ill patients and often goes unrecognized but can also be prevented using anticoagulant medications (thromboprophylaxis). In recent years, CHÉOS Scientist Dr. Peter Dodek has co-authored multiple publications focusing on the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of thromboprophylactic strategies in the critically ill.
A number of CHÉOS Scientists have co-authored studies focusing on reducing and treating thrombosis and related complications in other patient populations. Over the past decade, Drs. Larry Lynd, Sean Barbour, Brian Grunau, Adeera Levin, and Karin Humphries have all contributed to such studies, some concentrating on feasibility, some on the effectiveness of different treatment strategies. Most recently, CHÉOS Scientists Drs. Eric Grafstein, Rob Stenstrom, and Devin Harris published a pharmacoeconomic study in September 2016 regarding treatment of VTE in the emergency room. They found that, despite being more expensive, direct oral anticoagulants were more cost-effective than traditional medications from a hospital perspective and potentially from a patient viewpoint.
Thousands of educational events are held around the world as part of World Thrombosis Day, an annual event founded in 2014 by the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis. There are multiple events being held this year across Canada. Here in British Columbia, the UBC Centre for Blood Research is holding a public education and health fair event to highlight the latest treatments, research, and preventative strategies for thrombosis.
For more information about thrombosis, please visit https://www.worldthrombosisday.org.