NICE focus on blood clot care

  • Posted

Posted 26/06/2012

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) reports that many lives could be saved if hospitals diagnosed and treated blood clots more quickly.Blood clots in the legs or lungs affected more than 56,000 people in England and Wales last year and the true level of this problem is probably higher as many experts believe a large number of clots go undiagnosed. In 2007 there were 17,000 deaths where blood clots were recorded as being a factor. When a blood clot dislodges and travels to the lung it can be fatal (this is known as pulmonary embolism). Even if a blood clot (thrombosis) in the leg does not dislodge, it can still lead to long term pain, swelling and disability.NICE reports that the level of diagnosis and treatment varies significantly throughout the country. It has also issued advice that patients who are found to have blood clots should be given blood thinning medication and advised to wear anti compression socks for at least two years. NICE want all hospitals to offer blood tests and ultra sound scans within 24 hours of possible symptoms. Professor Stansby, who was the chairman of the guideline development group, has said the NHS should offer a seven day a week service as it is not acceptable to wait over a weekend for tests.Trefine Maynard, a solicitor with the specialist clinical negligence team at Ashtons Legal, said: “This advice is very welcome. It is astonishing that NICE should have to address this issue as the risks have been well recognised for years. Unfortunately as I and my colleagues are only too well aware, NICE are quite correct to say that diagnosis and treatment of blood clots is not well implemented. We have handled some tragic cases where, had what is now being recommended by NICE been implemented, death could have been avoided. It is not enough to have protocols in place for hospital patients, they must be implemented and above all hospital staff must be alert to the risk of blood clot and should be expected to identify, monitor and investigate those at risk. Early treatment is easy and known to be exceedingly effective. I hope that the NICE recommendations will be taken to heart and implemented immediately”.


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