Preventing Blood Clots: Your Safety Matters
At TUH, we are dedicated to your health and safety, especially when it comes to preventing blood clots. This information has been crafted to offer you essential insights into blood clots and how we are committed to minimizing your risk during your stay with us. If you have any queries or seek more details, please feel free to engage with a member of your healthcare team.
Understanding Blood Clots
Blood circulates swiftly through our veins, but on occasion, clots may form, restricting blood flow or causing it to halt altogether. A deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep vein, often in the leg or pelvis. Immobile periods, such as during illness or post-surgery recovery, can contribute to DVT. Prolonged discomfort and swelling might result in post-thrombotic syndrome.
In more severe instances, a blood clot can become dislodged, travel through the bloodstream, and block a lung vessel, leading to a pulmonary embolism (PE). The repercussions can be fatal. Collectively, DVT and PE are known as venous thromboembolism (VTE).
Contrary to common belief, the risk of blood clots in a hospital setting is significantly higher than that of long-haul flights. Hospitalization increases the risk of DVT by 15%, while surgical procedures carry a 30% risk if preventative measures are not taken.
Prevention: A Collaborative Effort
The prevention of blood clots is a priority for our hospital staff. Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other teams all contribute to your safety by assessing your risk for VTE upon admission to TUH. Based on this assessment, suitable preventative measures are advised.
- Anti-Embolism Stockings (AES): These stockings gently compress your legs to enhance blood flow, reducing the risk of clot formation. AES are highly effective and may be worn day and night until your mobility returns to normal.
- Compression Devices: Inflatable sleeves around your leg or foot help blood return to the heart by exerting pressure at intervals.
- Movement: Early mobility, especially after surgery, is crucial in preventing blood clots.
- Leg Exercises: Regularly point your toes down and bend your foot up to promote blood flow.
- Hydration: Staying well-hydrated reduces the risk of DVT.
- Medication: Your doctor may prescribe anticoagulants or antiplatelets to prevent and treat blood clots.
Continuing Care and Vigilance
Upon leaving the hospital, continue treatments as advised. If you experience symptoms of VTE or bleeding at home, promptly seek medical assistance from your GP, call 999 or 112, or attend your nearest emergency department.
Your safety is paramount to us. If you have questions about your risk factors or any aspect of this information, please consult your healthcare team.