Educate and prevent illness
The annual World Thrombosis Day is being held on Monday 13th October.
Although about half a million people die of venous thromboembolism in Europe every year (1), ways of preventing or treating it are largely unknown among the general population.
Venous thromboembolism occurs when a blood clot is dislodged and enters the bloodstream. This can lead to blockage of a blood vessel. Rapid treatment is essential because venous thromboembolism counts as one of the most common and potentially most lethal cardiovascular diseases. The aim of the world-wide information day is to remind specialists and the general public once a year about the risk of thrombosis.
The 13th October was chosen, because this is the birthday of the German doctor and pathologist Rudolf Virchow. He is regarded as the pioneer of research into thrombotic conditions.
The hospital guardian angel is called mediven® thrombexin 18
Everyone who has had an operation in hospital knows them: those white hospital stockings – thigh-length and not at all sexy. But they are of course true guardian angels for preventing thromboses and pulmonary embolisms.
However, not all stockings are the same: mediven thrombexin 18 came top of the class in a comparative test (2) with stockings from other manufacturers. In contrast to medicines, which always contain the same amount of the active substance regardless of who made them, the measurements revealed large differences between the stockings' pressure profiles.
How a "hospital stocking" works
The return flow of blood to the heart in immobile and bedridden patients slows down because there is no muscle activity.
The stockings exert mechanical pressure to reduce the diameter of the blood vessels and increase the flow rate of the blood. This counteracts the formation of blood clots. The correct pressure gradient – decreasing upward from the ankle to the thigh – is decisive thereby.
The "10 stocking commandments" for your hospital stay
Nursing staff bear great responsibility with regard to ensuring the stockings are used correctly on patients. The following ten points give you the chance – based on the four eyes principle – to make sure the staff do everything they can for you in terms of thrombosis prophylaxis:
- Are your legs measured for the stockings before they are put on for the first time?
- Are you measured again when the stockings are changed?
- Do the stockings fit your legs without any wrinkles?
- Please always wear both stockings!
- Please ask the staff to explain how to put the stockings on.
- The stockings should be changed every two to three days.
- Please wear the stockings 24 hours a day as long as you are confined to bed.
- Please take care of the skin of your legs.
- Please ask the staff to inspect your skin daily.
- Ask your doctor whether there are any reasons why you should not wear medical thrombosis prophylaxis stockings (contraindications).
(1) Cohen AT, Agnelli G, Anderson FA, Arcelus JI, Bergqvist D, Brecht JG, Greer IA, Heit JA, Hutchinson JL, Kakkar AK, Mottier D, Oger E, Samama MM, Spannagl M, Venous thromboembolism (VTE) in Europe. The number of VTE events and associated morbidity and mortality. Thromb Haemost. 2007 Okt; 98(4): 756-64.
(2) Wegener, Kraft, Kröger et al: Biomechanical characterisation of medical thrombosis prophylaxis stockings, Vascular Surgery 2013, 18:278-286