World Thrombosis Day 2017

  • What is World Thrombosis Day?
  • What is the Purpose of World Thrombosis Day?
  • How do you get involved with World Thrombosis Day?
  • What is Thrombosis?
  • What are the Risk Factors of Developing Blood Clots?
  • What are the Symptoms of Blood Clots?
  • How can you Prevent Blood Clots?
  • What are the Treatments for Blood Clots?

  • What is World Thrombosis Day?

    World Thrombosis Day is recognised every year on the 13th of October and the key aim is to raise awareness about the condition of thrombosis. Thrombosis refers to abnormal, life-threatening blood clots that form in the artery or vein. Worldwide, one in four people die from causes related to thrombosis. Without addressing this disease head on, we cannot meet the World Health Assembly's global target to reduce premature non-communicable mortality by 25 percent by 2025.

    World Thrombosis Day (WTD) focuses attention on the often overlooked and misunderstood condition of thrombosis so hundreds of educational events occur in countries around the world.

    What is the Purpose of World Thrombosis Day?

    The key objectives of the campaign involve increasing global awareness of thrombosis including the causes, risk factors, signs/symptoms, with prevention and treatments available to prevent this condition. The key aspects include empowering individuals to discuss with their healthcare providers about their risk for thrombosis and appropriate prevention. If you experience any signs or symptoms then seek medical attention immediately.

    WTD are passionate about getting organisations in countries from across the world involved in conducting the appropriate and aligned campaigns within their countries and regions. Having a process of systems of care to properly prevent and diagnose and treat thrombosis is very important for WTD.

    How do you get involved with World Thrombosis Day?

    World Thrombosis Day communicates to the global community in a variety of different ways including social media to connect with WTD and participating communities around the world. This is to increase awareness and maintain an active situation about the topic of thrombosis as an urgent, growing health problem.

    They do this by using a variety of different hashtags via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and they also have a YouTube page to make it a worldwide trend and increase in popularity. They also have a photo gallery which shows a creative way of recognising WTD with communities helping out and promoting all for a good cause e.g. fundraising, events, presentations promoting WTD, survivors of thrombosis posting selfies etc. This helps to keep people informed and aware by people talking selfies from all around the World to build awareness to communities and magnify the importance of treating this condition.

    World Thrombosis Day also partners with a high variety of different organisations including World Heart Federation, World Stroke Organization, International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis and many other organisations globally to promote their campaign.

    What is Thrombosis?

    Thrombosis is the formation of a blood clot inside a blood vessel, obstructing the flow of blood through the circulatory system. Thrombosis can occur in veins or arteries. This occurs when a blood clot remains and circulates in the vascular system. It can reach vital organs and prevent blood vessels from functioning correctly. A blood clot is usually a healthy physical response to an injury. It quickly forms a plug that can reduce or prevent bleeding. 

    Blood Clot DiagramRed Blood Cells White Blood Cells Clotting Diagram

    Every year, thousands of people in the UK develop a blood clot in a vein. This is known as Venous Thromboembolism which a serious, potentially fatal, medical condition. There are different forms of thrombosis including

    • Deep Vein Thrombosis- Blood clots may form in the deep blood vessels, most commonly in the leg and groin, blocking normal blood flow returning from the legs to the heart.

    • Arterial thrombosis- When a thrombus forms in the artery such as the heart or the brain it is called arterial thrombosis. • Pulmonary embolism- This is a blood clot in the blood vessel that carries from the heart to the lungs. This results from a piece or all of a blood clot that breaks off and is carried by the blood stream to the lung where it obstructs the blood vessel. The size of the clot and the site of the obstruction of blood flow in the vessel determine the extent and severity.

    Deep Vein Thrombosis DiagramArterial Thrombosis DiagramPulmonary Embolism Diagram

    What are the Risk Factors of Developing Blood Clots?

    Clotting is caused by chemical reactions between blood cells (platelets) and proteins (clotting factors). A healthy body regulates the clotting process when necessary.

    • Tobacco Smoking

    • High Cholesterol

    • Being Overweight or Obese

    • Cancer

    • Diabetes

    • Stress

    • Not exercising

    • Not being active

    • Certain medications

    • Surgery

    • Heart conditions

    • Trauma or injury

    • High blood pressure

    Blood Clot Risk FactorsBlood Clot KeywordsBlood Clots in the Brain

    What are the Symptoms of Blood Clots?

    • Chest pain

    • Heart attack/ rapid heart rate

    • Stroke

    • Dizziness/fainting

    • Shortness of breath

    • Sudden loss of strength in one arm or leg

    • Coughing up blood

    • Pain, swelling, tenderness, usually in the calf

    • An ache and warm sensation on the skin in affected area

    • Red skin, particularly at the back of the leg below the knee

    • Swelling on your foot, ankle, or leg usually on one side

    • Cramping pain in your affected leg

    • Rapid breathing

    • Severe, unexplained pain in your foot or ankle If any of these symptoms occur you must seek medical advice immediately.

    Blood Clot SymptomsPulmonary embolism and DVT symptomsBlood clot heart brain lungs symptoms

    How can you Prevent Blood Clots?

    • Ask your doctor for medical advice, when in a hospital ask for the need of blood thinners or compression stockings to prevent clots.

    • Lose weight if you are overweight.

    • Stay active.

    • Exercise regularly walking is a common example.

    • Avoid long periods of staying still.

    • Get up and move around at least every hour whenever you travel on an aeroplane, train, or bus particularly if the journey is over 4 hours.

    • Point and flex your toes and make circles with your feet if you cannot move around while sitting for prolonged periods to get your blood circulating.

    • Stop at least every two hours when you drive, and get out moving around.

    • Drink a lot of water and wear loose fitted clothing when you travel.

    • Follow any self-care measures to keep heart failure, diabetes or any other health conditions as stable as possible. Seek advice from your doctor.

    • Raise your leg whenever you’re resting helping to relieve the pressure in the veins of the calf and prevents blood and fluid from pooling in the calf itself. Make sure your foot is higher than your hip whilst raising your leg. This will help the returning blood to flow from your calf. Putting a cushion underneath your leg whilst lying down also helps to raise your leg slightly from the level of your hip.

    Preventing Blood Clots TravellingHealthy Living Choices

    What are the Treatments for Blood Clots?

    • Anticoagulation medicines- This prevents blood clots from getting bigger. They help by stopping part of the blood clot from breaking off and becoming lodged in another part of your bloodstream. The way in which this medication works is by altering the proteins in the blood which helps to prevent clots from forming so easily. The types of anticoagulation medicines include:

    • Heparin- Standard can be given as an intravenous injection which is an injection straight into one of your veins. It can also be given as an intravenous infusion where a continuous drip of heparin via a pump is fed through a narrow tube vein into your arm must be done in hospital only. A subcutaneous injection is another form of heparin treatment which is an injection under your skin. The dosage varies depending on the type of person so it is monitored and adjusted in hospital. You need frequent blood tests and to remain in hospital to ensure you receive the right dosage.

    • Warfarin- This is taken as a tablet. It may need to be taken after treatment with heparin to prevent further blood clots occurring. The time period could range from 3-6 months your doctor decides depending on how serious your blood clot is. In some cases, it may need to be taken for longer, even for life. You will need to have frequent blood tests to ensure that you are taking the right dosage. Before taking the Warfarin you need three blood tests a week until your regular dosage is decided. After this, you should only need to have a blood test every four weeks at an anticoagulant outpatient clinic. If your taking warfarin keep your diet consistent, limit your alcohol consumption, take your dose at the same time every day, do not take any other medications without consulting your GP, pharmacist, or anticoagulant specialist, do not take herbal medicines.

    • Rivaroxaban- This is a medication recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence as a possible treatment for adults with deep vein thrombosis, or to help prevent deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. This comes in tablet form and is a type of anticoagulant known as directly acting oral anticoagulant. This medication helps to prevent blood clots forming by inhibiting a substance called factor Xa and restricting the formation of thrombin (an enzyme that helps blood clots). The treatment usually lasts three months and involves taking it twice a day for the first 21 days and then once a day until the end of the medication.

    • Apixaban- This is another treatment recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence as a possible method of treatment and prevention for deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. This is taken orally as a tablet, preventing blood clots from forming by hindering factor Xa and restricting formation of thrombin. This treatment usually lasts up to three months and must be taken twice a day.

    • Compression stockings- Wearing compression stockings help to prevent calf pain and swelling, lowering the risk of ulcers developing after deep vein thrombosis. They can also help to prevent post-thrombotic syndrome. This is damage to a leg tissue caused by the increase in venous pressure that occurs when a vein is blocked by a clot and blood is diverted across to other veins. Stockings should be worn every day for at least two years after having deep vein thrombosis. This is due to symptoms of post thrombotic syndrome may develop several months or years after having deep vein thrombosis. Compression stockings should be fitted professionally and your prescription should be reviewed every three to six months. The stockings need to be worn all day but can be taken off before going to bed or in the evening while you rest with your leg raised. There should also be a spare pair of compression stockings provided.

    • Inferior vena cava filters- This treatment is used usually when anticoagulant treatment needs to be stopped, isn’t suitable or isn’t working. This is small mesh devices that can be placed in the vein. They trap large fragments of blood clot and prevent it from travelling to the heart and the lungs. They can be used to help prevent blood clots developing in the legs of people diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and multiple severe injuries. They can be placed in the vein permanently, or newer types can be placed temporarily and removed after risk of blood clot has decreased. This procedure is carried out using a local anaesthetic when you’re awake but the area is numb. Small cut is made in the skin and a catheter (thin, flexible tube) is inserted into a vein in the neck or groin area. The catheter is guided using an ultrasound scan. The Inferior vena cava filter is then inserted through the catheter and into the vein.

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