Thrombosis, or more specifically deep vein thrombosis (DVT), is a dangerous medical condition in which the formation of a blood clot blocks circulation in the deep veins of the lower limbs that are primarily responsible for returning deoxygenated blood to the heart. A number of factors contribute to one's risk of developing a clot, including age, obesity, major surgery, trauma or immobility, genetic factors, oral contraceptives, or hormone replacement therapy. Risk is higher when more than one risk factor is present. Blood clots can become potentially fatal if the clot breaks loose from the wall of the vein and migrates from the leg to the lungs, called pulmonary embolus (PE). When this happens, clots block a pulmonary artery or one of its branches, disrupting the lung's blood flow and the addition of oxygen to the blood.
Drugs used to treat deep vein thrombosis fall into three general classes: (1) anticoagulants, which inhibit blood coagulation and serve to weaken already formed clots, preventing further expansion; (2) thrombolytic agents, which actually help to dissolve clots; and (3) antiplatelet agents, which decrease activation of platelets and prevent new clots from being formed.
"Since we are aware of the risk factors, deep vein thrombosis should be a preventable occurrence," said Jim George, M.D. Vice President of the American Society of Hematology and Professor of Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City. "Current therapies, though somewhat effective, still have many limitations and undesirable side effects. Technological advancement
Contact: Aimee Frank
American Society of Hematology