Thrombosis (blood clot) is the formation of potentially deadly blood clots in the artery (arterial thrombosis) or vein (venous thrombosis). Once formed, a clot can slow or block normal blood flow, and even break loose and travel to an organ. A clot that travels to the circulation is called an embolism. Thrombosis is the often preventable underlying pathology of heart attack, thromboembolic stroke, and venous thromboembolism (VTE), the top three cardiovascular killers.
VTE is a condition in which blood clots form (most often) in the deep veins of the leg, pelvis or arms (known as deep vein thrombosis, DVT) and can travel in the circulation and lodge in the lungs (known as pulmonary embolism, PE). VTE is often fatal, but the good news is that many, if not most cases are preventable. DVT + PE = VTE
Thrombosis does not discriminate. They can affect anyone regardless of age, ethnicity or race. Up to 900,000 people in the United States alone are affected by blood clots each year and about 100,000 of those people will die, which is greater than the total number of people who lose their lives each year to AIDS, breast cancer, and motor vehicle crashes combined.
The most important thing you can do to protect yourself from a life-threatening blood clot is to learn if you are at risk. Know the signs and symptoms and contact your health care professional immediately if needed.
In 2012, the World Health Assembly (WHA) set a global target to reduce premature deaths from non-infectious disease – including cardiovascular disease – by 25 percent by 2025. To meet this goal, WTD and our partners believe that the WHA must directly address thrombosis, specifically VTE and AFib.
In May 2015, the ISTH and WTD steering committee called for increased attention to thrombosis in a statement to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) 68th World Health Assembly. Key to this effort is the inclusion of VTE as a specific cause of death in the WHO’s next Global Burden of Disease study.
To learn more about the global burden of the VTE, visit our partners at World Thrombosis Day.