Venous thromboembolism (VTE; blood clot) is a leading cause of global death and disability, with 1 in 4 deaths worldwide related to conditions caused by thrombosis.
Acutely ill medical patients, those who are hospitalized for serious medical conditions such as heart failure, stroke, cancer, infection and pulmonary disease, are particularly vulnerable to VTE. Up to 80% of fatal VTEs occur in acutely ill medical patients. In G7 countries (U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the U.K.), there are more than 24 million hospitalized acutely ill medical patients and an estimated 22.5 million of these patients are at risk of VTE events. More than 1 million VTE events and 150,000 VTE-related deaths are reported annually.
In the U.S., VTE is responsible for about 100,000 confirmed deaths each year, making it deadlier than many diseases commonly associated with high mortality, including colon cancer, acute respiratory disease and diabetes. VTE is also considered to be a “silent killer” because there are not always clinically detectable signs and symptoms. Often, the first symptom of a VTE is a fatal pulmonary embolism.
The increased risk for VTE in acutely ill medical patients doesn’t end when patients are discharged from the hospital. With shortened hospital stays, patients often continue bed rest and severe immobilization, which are characteristics of patients at increased risk for VTE, after discharge but are no longer receiving prophylactic treatment. Approximately 50% of all VTE events occur post discharge, making this a high-risk period for acutely ill medical patients.