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Thrombosis day: Experts counsel on how to avoid sudden death

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Worried by the growing number of sudden death from the fatal health condition known as thrombosis, a professor of Haematology and Blood Transfusion at the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Prof. Sulaimon Akanmu has advised people going for hospital admission to always request for a thrombosis risk assessment and if at risk, demand for prophylaxis (preventive) treatment to avoid unnecessary sudden death.

This is because thrombosis, the formation of potentially deadly clots (blood that has turned into solid form) within the blood vessel is not only deadly, but kills within minutes when it occurs.  

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).  Both DVT and PE are collectively referred to as venous thromboembolism (VTE).  

According to experts, VTE kills mostly before needed specialised medical intervention is obtained.  Speaking at a press conference organised last Friday by a multinational pharmaceutical company, Sanofi, in collaboration with the Society of Haematology and Blood transfusion (NSHBT), to commemorate the 2019 World Thrombosis Day, marked globally today, Prof. Akanmu said needed skilled medical intervention, in terms of specialists and equipment, to effectively manage the condition is lacking in most parts of the country.

It has been discovered that no fewer than 50 percent of patients admitted in Nigerian hospitals could be prone to developing VTE, but most of the cases would not be detected until after death.

Akanmu said: “When an individual is admitted to the hospital, the likelihood that that individual is going to have thrombosis is a lot higher than somebody not admitted. If you are on admission in the hospital and you are evaluated for thrombosis and you are at risk, the likelihood that you have a thrombophilic state is as high as 40 percent. This means the individual will certainly develop thrombosis before he or she leaves the hospital. This is why we say when anyone is on admission bed, please let them be subjected to thrombosis risk.”

A statement issued by NSHBT read: “It is sometimes asymptomatic, misdiagnosed, unrecognised and untreated or undertreated. It is relatively common with an incidence of one in 1, 000 in older adults. The prevalence has been reported to be increasing in Nigeria. Up to 14.9 percent of patients admitted to a medical service and up to 40 percent admitted to surgical service will have VTE without appropriate prophylaxis. The good news about VTE is that most of the cases are preventable.”


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