Prevalence of deep venous thrombosis among patients in medical intensive care
It appears that considerably more patients in medical intensive care units (MICU) develop deep venous thrombosis (DVT) than would be expected. DVT is a vascular obstruction caused by a blood clot in a vein. Of 100 MICU patients enrolled in a study, 33 were diagnosed with DVT by using ultrasonography with color Doppler imaging. Of those 33 patients, 23 (70%) had been diagnosed on the first ultrasound performed in the MICU. The DVT rate was high even though 61% of the patients had received preventive treatment, either pneumatic compression devices or subcutaneous heparin. Risk factors such as age, cancer diagnosis, recent surgery and length of hospitalization apparently failed to predict DVT. More MICU patients should receive preventive treatment for DVT, not just those who are at high risk.
Publication Name: JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association
Pulmonary embolism is difficult to detect and treat and therefore preventing this potentially fatal condition is extremely important. It occurs when a blood clot forms somewhere in the body and travels to the lungs. Risk factors include immobility, excessive blood clotting, smoking, pregnancy, oral contraceptive use, cancer and surgery. Chest pain and shortness of breath are the commonest symptoms. Diagnostic techniques include ultrasound, CT scans, angiography and perfusion lung scanning. Treatments include heparin, warfarin and drugs that break up blood clots.
Publication Name: The New England Journal of Medicine
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