Deadly clots are a thing of past

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BOSSES at Doncaster Royal Infirmary have stamped out all deaths caused by blood clots in patients’ legs.

Nationally, blood clots in the legs are estimated to be the cause of death in 10 per cent of patients who die in hospital - more than are killed by breast cancer, road accidents and AIDS combined.

But figures released by the Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust reveal no patients have died at its hospitals from leg blood clots since 2007.

The figures were released as NHS figures showed staff at the trust are meeting the national target for assessing patients’ risk of suffering a blood clot.

Bosses believe the removal of deaths from clots in the legs is down to improvements in risk assessment, and preventative care such as specially designed clinical stockings, and blood thinning drugs.

Assessment is done before a patient has surgery or a lengthy stay in hospital.

The assessment target to reach by the end of 2010-11 was 90 per cent of appropriate patients having a risk assessment. The DRI trust achieved 93.9 per cent.

Clots can form in the deep veins of the legs, thighs, and pelvis, and are known as deep vein thrombosis. If part of a clot breaks off and lodges in the lung, it is a serious condition called a called a pulmonary embolism. A campaign last year at the hospital encouraged patients over 18 to ask for an assessment.

A patient assessed as high risk will be given pressure stockings to wear and may have medication too to thin the blood, said a hospital spokesman.

Dr Robin Bolton, medical director of the trust which also runs the Mexborough Montagu Hospital and Bassetlaw Hospital in Worksop, said: “Medical and nursing staff have worked hard to achieve this target, which is in the interests of better care for patients.

“Having a DVT or PE can prove to be fatal, but it can also lead to longer stays in hospital. This, in itself, raises the risk of further DVTs.”