NICE blood clot guideline to save thousands of lives
Around 10,000 lives could be saved each year if patients are assessed for their risk of developing blood clots as soon as they are admitted to hospital, latest NICE guidelines suggest.
Currently, it is estimated that 25,000 people who are admitted to hospital die from preventable venous thromboembolism (blood clots in the leg and potentially fatal clots which travel to the lung) each year. This has led the Department of Health to make the prevention of this “silent killer” across the NHS a priority for the forthcoming years.
The NICE guideline on VTE, which was welcomed by leading experts at a launch at the Royal College of Physicians in London yesterday, will provide doctors and nurses with a check list to ensure that all patients who are admitted to hospital are checked for signs of blood clots.
Speaking at the launch, Professor Tom Treasure, chair of the NICE Guideline Development Group, said: “NICE first issued guidance on VTE in 2007 but this was for surgical patients only. This latest guideline will broaden it out to all patients who are admitted to hospital. It will ensure that the risk of blood clots, a silent killer, is always assessed.
“It is a tragedy that there are a number of deaths from this condition. Around 10,000 lives could be saved by this guideline.”
Professor Ian Gilmore, president of the Royal College of Physicians, said: “The professionals have all come together for this guideline. There is a full understanding that this is an important and vital condition. These guidelines can help us to put theory into practice.”
The majority of patients coming into hospital will be appropriate for preventative treatments, added Professor Gilmore.
Under the NICE guideline, patients will be offered a range of treatments to reduce their risk of blood clots, such as blood-thinning drugs like heparin or anti-embolism stockings.
Although the cost of providing a range of preventative VTE treatments for all patients, plus the cost of treating any adverse events, will be in the region of £30million, this will be offset by savings made by preventing DVT in all patients, resulting in a net saving of £1 million to the NHS.
27 January 2010
This page was last updated: 14 April 2010