Mater leads drive to reduce clot-related hospital deaths
Doctors at Mater Misericordiae University Hospital in Dublin are leading a drive to reduce the rate of preventable clot-related deaths in hospitals.
The first national clinical group for venous thromboembolism has been established within the health service to tackle what is the third-largest cause of cardiovascular death after heart attack and stroke.
Venous thromboembolism – or obstruction of a blood vessel by a clot dislodged from another site in the circulation – is responsible for almost 500,000 deaths a year in Europe, but there is no specific data for Ireland. Doctors know, however, that venous thromboembolism is a leading cause of death in cancer patients and the main cause of direct maternal death in the UK and Ireland.
The umbrella term includes conditions such as pulmonary embolism as well as deep-vein thrombosis, which has been identified as a risk on long-haul flights. Risk factors for developing a clot include being immobile for long periods, excess body weight, infection and having had an operation.