Issue 2 Newsletter | DVT Connections
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DVT Connections

Melanie’s Corner

As the national patient spokesperson for the Coalition to Prevent Deep-Vein Thrombosis (DVT), I always look forward to taking part in our annual meeting. It’s a chance for us to assess the progress we’ve made, lay out our plans for the year ahead and reaffirm our shared commitment to reducing the risk of DVT for as many people as possible.

This year’s meeting, held in late January in Washington, D.C., was especially inspiring. Last year was a busy and rewarding one for us, as we succeeded on a whole new level in our efforts to capture the attention of the media, the public and health care professionals, and get them to hear and act on our messages. We reached a milestone, having delivered nearly 1 billion messages with information about DVT awareness. About 115,000 people have visited preventdvt.org, and 20,000 have downloaded the online risk-assessment tool. These figures show that by putting faces and names to the risks of this condition, the Coalition has really opened up a dialogue and brought much-needed focus to DVT.

This year promises to be another exciting one for us. Some major developments are on the horizon, including a new Coalition campaign, anticipating a Call to Action from the Surgeon General of the United States and a set of consensus standards on the prevention and care of venous thromboembolism from the National Quality Forum. Announcements about these activities were among the highlights of the Coalition meeting. Here’s a brief recap of what was discussed:

Karen Near, Senior Science Advisor at the Office of the Surgeon General (OSG), outlined the process for having the OSG issue a Call to Action and shared details of the forthcoming Call to Action on DVT, including the news that it is expected to be issued mid-year. (See the following story for more information on this landmark document.)

  • The National Quality Forum (NQF) announced that the NQF’s National Voluntary Consensus Standards for the Prevention and Care of Venous Thromboembolism were approved in mid- January.
  • The Coalition unveiled its DVT Prevention Pledge – a call to healthcare professionals and patient advocates to implement best practices for the prevention, treatment and monitoring of DVT on a daily basis – asking Coalition members to add their signatures to a Pledge Wall. I will carry this board with me as I travel around the country to raise DVT awareness.
  • The Coalition also unveiled its plans for getting the word out in 2007. One of the highlights will be our grassroots DVT Awareness by Design campaign, which invites people across the country to design DVT-themed socks and wear them proudly, becoming ambassadors of DVT awareness in their local communities. (Campaign details are included in this issue of DVT Connections.) Another focus will be the results of our new survey, which measured DVT knowledge and awareness among physicians, high-risk patient groups and the general public.

We ended the meeting on an interactive note, with a productive brainstorming session that brought out lots of new ideas from Coalition members – some of which might be included in our plans for next year.

I look forward to sharing my stories with you and continuing to read about your DVT experiences - in the meantime continue to check back on the Coalition Web site for updates!

Best Wishes,

Melanie Bloom's Signature


NBC's Meredith Vieira, Al Roker, Ann Curry and Campbell Brown, as well as ESPN/ABC’s Bonnie Bernstein, have gotten on board the DVT Awareness by Design campaign – have you? It’s time to join these celebrities and thousands of others across America in this grassroots educational campaign designed to engage action and boost public awareness of a condition with complications that kills more people in the United States than AIDS and breast cancer combined.

Show your support through designing and personalizing your own sock to showcase what DVT means to you. By wearing your sock proudly you can serve as an ambassador to educate colleagues, patients, friends and family about DVT prevention and treatment. You can also submit photo entries of your DVT-design socks on preventdvt.org!

DVT Awareness by Design

PATIENT SPOTLIGHT: DVT Diaries & Bonnie Bernstein

In the previous issue of the newsletter, the Coalition introduced a new online resource called DVT Diaries, a continuing series designed to help reach new and current patients and spread awareness. DVT Diaries will allow individuals to share their personal stories and to provide hope. This series can be found online at www.preventdvt.org; continue to check back as new chapters are released or register online to receive chapters via email.

Below please find an excerpt of our second chapter of DVT Diaries, by Bonnie Bernstein.

From High-Energy to Hospitalized in Less Than a Week By Bonnie Bernstein, Sports reporter and anchor, ABC and ESPN

… I actually remember thinking to myself, "Finally, everything is starting to fall into place." That's why I was devastated the day I was rushed to the hospital for deep-vein thrombosis (DVT).

I had been feeling pain in the upper part of my left leg for a week. I figured I had pulled a muscle in the gym, so I took some ibuprofen, iced the leg and blew it off. After 14 years of gymnastics, I'd grown accustomed to this routine for all sorts of bumps and bruises and assumed this was no different. I had no idea I was experiencing symptoms of DVT.

As I lay in the darkness of my hospital room that night, my thoughts turned to David Bloom, the NBC News correspondent who was fatally stricken by a DVT related PE a few years back while embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq. I remember reading that he had pain in his leg, but never sought medical attention, and that the autopsy revealed a blood clot in his lungs. My doctors were very clear: had my situation not been diagnosed when it was, I could have suffered the same fate as David Bloom.

I marveled at how one day, you’re just minding your own business, living life, jet-setting around the country covering games every week; then, without any discernable warning, you’re laid up in a hospital bed. Scary, scary stuff.

Bonnie Bernstein

COMING SOON: The Surgeon General’s Call to Action on DVT

In one important respect, the Office of the Surgeon General (OSG) is a lot like that investment firm with the memorable old commercial – when the OSG talks, people listen. For proof, consider the impact of its 1964 Report on Smoking and Health, a document that led to warning labels on cigarette packaging and dramatically changed the public perception of the consequences of tobacco use. Our hopes are that the OSG’s forthcoming Call to Action on DVT will set off a similar chain reaction, waking up all Americans to the dangers of this condition and pushing them to and help protect themselves from it.

The Call to Action on DVT is expected to be issued mid-year. Once released, it will be posted on the Web sites of the OSG and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, and printed in two forms: a full-length document and a shorter, easy-to-read version.

"2007 will be the most exciting year yet for the Coalition to Prevent DVT," says Coalition Steering Committee member Dr. Samuel Goldhaber, "and a mega-highlight will be the Call to Action from the Office of the Surgeon General."

DVT Awareness by Design

Show us your socks.
Become a model for DVT Awareness.

The Coalition would like to extend a warm welcome to our newest member – The North American Thrombosis Forum (NATF). With this addition, the Coalition is now comprised of 43 nationally known medical societies, healthcare organizations and patient advocacy groups!
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Are you or a loved one at risk for DVT blood clots?

Key DVT Statistics

Did you know that up to 2 million Americans are affected annually by DVT?