About 900,000 venous thromobembolisms (VTE—blood clots) occur in the US annually, mostly after a hospitalization and sometimes with a fatal outcome. There are published guidelines on how to prevent VTEs, but physicians and hospital personnel tend to underestimate the risk and to often do not carry out effective preventive measures. If you or a loved one requires hospitalization, ask about early ambulation, anti-coagulant medication, compression stockings and various devices such as intermittent pneumatic pressure. When traveling, get up and change positions every hour, and do not sit for long periods with your legs crossed. These measures really work and can be life-saving.
See Family Practice News (click here), June 1, 2010, p. 13, the American Society of Hematology, and the Center for Disease Control.