October 2017 - World Thrombosis Day

by Donna Castellone, MS, MT (ASCP) SH • October 04, 2017

October 2017 - World Thrombosis Day

It only takes 30 seconds to make a difference! Register for the World Thrombosis Day (WTD) 2017 Thunderclap and help us spread a unified message about thrombosis across the world. Thunderclap is a crowdspeaking platform that helps people be heard by saying something together. On 13 October, a WTD awareness message will automatically be posted from your preferred social media channel.

Click here to sign up for the WTD 2017 Thunderclap. It's an excellent way to show your support on social media and help educate others about why awareness of thrombosis is so critical. Join the movement!

Take the pledge at:


Thrombosis and the Global Burden of Disease

Thrombosis can affect anyone, up to 900,000 people in the US are affected by blood clots. Of those, 100,000 will die. This is greater than the total number of people who die from AIDS, breast cancer and motor vehicle accidents combined. It doesn't discriminate and can affect all ethnicities and ages.

The World Health Assembly set a goal on 2012 to reduce death from cardiovascular disease by 25% by 2025. To achieve this both thrombosis (VTE) and atrial fibrillation need to be addressed. In 2015 The ISTH and the WTD called for an increased attention to thrombosis while addressing the WHO and asking to include VTE as a specific cause of death in the WHO's next Global Burden of Disease Study.

A systematic review on the global disease burden caused by VTE was published in several journals included over 8000 citations. (Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, Thrombosis and Haemostasis, Thrombosis Research, Seminars in Thrombosis and Hemostasis and Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology. A commentary was also published in the esteemed Lancet). Included in the review were low-income, middle-income and high-income countries. Studies from Western Europe, North America, Australia and southern Latin America (Argentina) yielded consistent results, with annual incidence rates ranging from 0.75 to 2.69 per 1000 individuals in the population. The incidence increased to between 2 and 7 per 1000 among those aged ≥ 70 years. Although the incidence is lower in individuals of Chinese and Korean ethnicity, their disease burden is not low, because of population aging.

The leading cause of disability adjusted life years was associated with VTE's during hospitalization in low and middle income countries and the second most common cause in high income countries. This exceeds causes related to pneumonia, bloodstream infections and adverse drug events. This data needs to be detailed to evaluate whether improved utilization of prevention measures will reduce the burden of disease.

World thrombosis day has been instituted as an annual, global initiative to reduce death and disability from thrombosis. This kills one in four people worldwide. WTD goal is to raise awareness of the causes, risk factors, signs, symptoms and evidence based prevention and treatment of thrombosis. This is celebrated on October 13th, which is the birthday of Rudolf Virchow, who developed the advanced concept of thrombosis.

How do you make people aware?

Use these key messages to educate family and friends:

Thrombosis Key Messages

  • World Thrombosis Day is a year-long campaign that takes place on 13 October and focuses attention on the underappreciated condition of thrombosis.
  • 1 in 4 people worldwide die of conditions caused by blood clots, also known by the medical term "thrombosis".
  • Thrombosis is a condition in which blood clots form (most often) in the deep vein of the leg (known as deep vein thrombosis, DVT) and can travel in the circulation and lodge in the lungs (known as pulmonary embolism, PE).
  • The two broad classifications of thrombosis are venous (VTE) and arterial (AT), depending on whether the clot develops in the vein or an artery.
  • VTE is a condition that includes both deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE). Together, DVT and PE are known as VTE -- a dangerous and potentially deadly medical condition.
  • Although about half of us haven't heard of VTE, it's a very common condition. In fact, 85% of Americans say they know what a blood clot is, but only 27% say that they know of a condition called VTE.
  • VTE is often fatal, but the good news is that many, if not most cases are preventable.
  • VTE risk factors include: Hospitalization, surgery, cancer, prolonged immobility, family history of VTE, estrogen-containing medications (birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy), pregnancy and/or recent birth.
  • DVT signs and symptoms include: Pain and/or tenderness in the calf or thigh; swelling of the leg, foot and/or ankle; redness and/or noticeable discoloration; warmth.
  • PE signs and symptoms include: Shortness of breath; rapid breathing; chest pain (may be worse upon deep breath); rapid heart rate; light headedness and/or passing out.
  • About 45% to 60% of VTE cases are hospital-associated highlighting the troubling fact that VTE is the leading cause of preventable hospital death.
  • VTE adds billions in health care costs.
  • Recent research shows only 7% of Americans say they are concerned about thrombosis or blood clots when it comes to their personal health, however, almost a third of those surveyed say that someone close to them has suffered a blood clot.

Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) Key Messages

  • Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is a common type of irregular heartbeat, also known as arrhythmia. With AFib,a clot can form in the chamber of the heart and can travel to the brain. This can lead to a potentially devastating thromboembolic stroke.

  • People with AFib are at increased risk for stroke and are estimated to account for 15% of the 15 million strokes that occur worldwide every year.

  • AFib may happen rarely or every now and then, or it may become an ongoing or long-term heart problem that lasts for years. That's why early identification and management is critical.

  • Risk factors for AFib include: Age 60 or more, especially 75+; congestive heart failure; high blood pressure (hypertension); diabetes; previous stroke, transient ischemic heart attack (TIA), or thromboembolism; vascular disease; ischemic heart disease; hyperthyroidism; chronic kidney disease; heavy alcohol use; enlargement of the chambers on the left side of the heart.

  • Many people who have AFib don't know they have it and don't have any symptoms. Others may experience one or more of the following symptoms: Irregular heartbeat; heart palpitations (rapid fluttering, or pounding); lightheadedness; fatigue; shortness of breath; chest pain.

  • Be proactive. Reduce your risk for thromboembolic stroke. Ask your health professional if you are at risk and get evaluated for AFib. Ask them to feel your pulse.

So commit to taking the pledge and educating people about the risks and symptoms of VTE!