PATIENTS in Wales are being urged to be aware of the risks of developing blood clots, through a campaign designed to save lives and prevent serious injury.

The Ask About Clots campaign is launched as a new survey reveals around two thirds of people in Wales mistakenly believe they are more likely to develop a clot, or deep vein thrombosis (DVT), on an aeroplane than in hospital.

But the latter can be up to 1,000 times more likely, depending on a patient’s circumstances.

Such clots are potentially fatal, or can cause permanent harm, and around half are preventable.

Ten to 20 patients a month in Gwent hospitals develop a blood clot.

Dr Simon Noble, consultant with Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, aims to raise awareness until every hospital in Wales “is reporting zero preventable clots.”

“We want to encourage patients to ask their doctor, nurse, or another healthcare professional involved in their care about their risk, so they can be assessed and given appropriate prevention treatment,” said Dr Noble, who is also medical director in Wales for thrombosis charity Lifeblood, which is supporting the campaign developed by the Public Health Wales 1,000 Lives improvement programme.

“The results of the survey highlight how important this campaign is to raise awareness of the danger of developing a thrombosis while staying in hospital.

“Most people associate developing a thrombosis with flying.

“However, two thirds of blood clots occur in hospital or in the 90 days following discharge.” He said.

Venous thrombosis is the formation of a clot inside a blood vessel, which can become fatal if it breaks off and enters the lungs.

Venous clots do not allow blood to return to the heart and symptoms occur because of this damming effect.

While everyone is at risk of developing a clot, there are particular groups at greater risk, including the over 60s, people who are overweight, those receiving cancer treatment, people undergoing major surgery, and pregnant women.

You’re also more at risk of developing blood clots if you can’t move around very much or if you’re unwell.

Hospitals are already encouraged to use a special checklist to evaluate a patient’s risk.

Gwent’s health board undertakes analysis of every hospital clot to understand the circumstances to aid future prevention.

It also runs cancer-specific blood clot clinics, and pregnant women are risk assessed at every appointment.

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