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Experts seek strategies to curb thrombosis

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Photo: PVASTAX

*50 per cent of patients on admission in Nigerian hospitals may develop condition, says NSHBT

Worried that no fewer than 50 per cent of patients on admission in Nigerian hospitals may develop thrombosis, medical experts have called for prevention strategy to the medical condition, which is the leading cause of mortality worldwide and responsible for one in four hospital deaths.

Thrombosis is the formation of potentially deadly clots, that is, a situation where the blood has turned into solid form within the blood vessel, which could be in the arteries (arterial thrombosis) or veins (venous thrombosis).

According to the Nigerian Society of Haematology and Blood Transfusion (NSHBT), when the blood clot forms in the vein, referred to as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), part or whole of the clot can detach and travel in the circulation to lodge in the lungs, causing a condition referred to as Pulmonary Embolism (PE) and both DVT and PE are collectively referred to as Venous Thromboembolism (VTE), which kills mostly before needed specialised medical intervention is obtained.

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The medical experts include Professor of Haematology and Blood Transfusion at the College of Medicine, University of Lagos (CMUL)/Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) Idi-Araba, Prof. Sulaimon Akanmu; and General Manager, Nigeria-Ghana Sanofi, Folake Odediran.

The experts at activity in Lagos to mark the 2019 World Thrombosis Day, which is commemorated on October 16 every year, lamented that while the number of deaths that occur in Nigeria cannot be ascertained, thrombosis is responsible for 370,000 deaths in Europe.

Akanmu and Odediran told journalists at the activity organised by Sanofi that the number of deaths caused by thrombosis is far higher than the total number recorded from Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), breast and prostate cancer and traffic accidents combined.

Akanmu said thrombosis is more common among patients in the hospital than individuals at home. “Thus, if an individual in the hospital is evaluated and found to be at risk as high as 40 per cent, such person is most ‘100 per cent likely’ to develop thrombosis before leaving the hospital.”

Akanmu said thrombosis is estimated to be responsible for one in four deaths globally.

The consultant haematologist cited a research study in 32 countries, which showed 50 per cent of patients in surgical wards and 30 per cent in medical wards had thrombosis risk, with a similar study conducted in 14 African countries, including Nigeria, which also revealed the same result, but however showed that less than 20 per cent of the African patients had a diagnosis of thrombosis risk while only a fraction of them received correct thrombosis prophylaxis.

“This is why we say when anyone is on admission bed please let them be subjected to thrombosis risk,” he stressed.

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Akanmu also lamented the dearth of specialists and equipment for the management of thrombosis in Nigeria, noting that most cases in the country are often detected during the post-mortem, as the few available statistics in the country are obtained through post mortem studies.

Odediran said while thrombosis claims more lives, the main concern is that many people are not aware of this condition.

She said thrombosis has its socioeconomic burden, as patients would need to spend more days in the hospital resulting in extra treatment costs.

She said the company had embarked on a massive awareness campaign to address VTE challenge as part of the company’s community social responsibility (CSR), disclosing that the process has been integrated into the company’s business strategy to better meet patients’ needs.

Meanwhile, according to NSHBT, efforts should be channeled towards prevention through VTE risk assessment for all in-hospital patients and offering appropriate prophylaxis to patients at high risk, who do not have any contraindication to anticoagulation.

The society also enjoined patients to request their thrombosis risk upon hospitalisation in order to intensify the prevention strategy.

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