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Leading Medical Organizations Join Forces Globally to Launch First-Ever World Thrombosis Day

-- The International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis partners with thrombosis related organizations from every continent to launch World Thrombosis Day focused on single cause of top 3 cardiovascular deaths worldwide

CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina, March 25, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Bringing together nations and local communities to tackle thrombosis, the quiet, underlying disorder that is the common mechanism of the world's three top cardiovascular killers – heart attack, stroke and venous thromboembolism (VTE) – the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH) today announced that October 13 will be designated World Thrombosis Day, with the inaugural event to be held this year. Partnering with thrombosis societies from every continent of the world, the ISTH is also teaming up with cardiovascular, neurology and hematology organizations in the effort to educate the public, health care professionals and policy makers about thrombosis risks, prevention and treatment.

"We must reduce the burden from thrombosis if we are to achieve the World Health Assembly's global target of reducing mortality from premature non-communicable disease by 25 percent by 2025," said Gary Raskob, Ph.D., Dean of the College of Public Health at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, and Chairman of the ISTH World Thrombosis Day Steering Committee. "Thrombosis is a common mechanism for the three leading cardiovascular causes of death and a major contributor to non-communicable disease globally."

Thrombosis, the formation of a blood clot that blocks the flow of blood in an artery or vein in the body, can occur at any age and can strike at any time. While World Thrombosis Day will provide education about all forms of thrombosis, the initial focus will be on venous thromboembolism (VTE), one of the most common and potentially deadly, yet underappreciated, thrombotic events. VTE occurs when blood clots in the deep veins in the extremities break off and travel to the lungs. Consider:

  • In Europe alone, half a million people die from VTE each year – more than the combined death total from AIDS, breast and prostate cancer and highway accidents. [1]
  • In the United States, 100,000 to 300,000 individuals die due to VTE each year and VTE is associated with more than 500,000 hospitalizations [2],[3],[4] 
  • Elsewhere in the world, such as Asia, the situation is likely to be equally dire with a lack of data masking the broad impact of thrombotic disorders.

"The worldwide numbers on death from VTE alone are staggering and there is too little awareness about the condition, risks, symptoms and preventive practices – even among many health care professionals," said Dr. Raskob. "World Thrombosis Day is designed to drive awareness of thrombosis and VTE."

The date of World Thrombosis Day, October 13, was chosen as it is the birthday of Rudolf Virchow, the German physician and pathologist who first coined the term "thrombosis" and made crucial advances in our understanding of it.

"Reducing deaths from thrombosis, VTE and all other forms of it, is essential to significantly lowering overall mortality rates and improving the public's health and wellbeing worldwide," said Michael Berndt, Ph.D., Pro-Vice Chancellor Health Sciences at Curtin University, Perth, Australia, and Chairman of the Council of the ISTH. "With World Thrombosis Day, we will drive home this important fact – and through it, we hope to contribute toward reducing the number of undiagnosed cases, increasing the implementation of evidence-based prevention and encouraging health care systems to ensure best practices for prevention, diagnosis and treatment."

At this time, more than 35 thrombosis and cardiovascular societies from every continent of the world have pledged their support to World Thrombosis Day with more joining every day. For a list of those organizations and for those interested in making the pledge and joining the effort, visit www.isth.org or click here.

Initial financial support for World Thrombosis Day comes from Bayer HealthCare (founding global partner), Boehringer Ingelheim (global partner) and The Bristol-Myers Squibb / Pfizer Alliance (global supporter).

About the ISTH
Founded in 1969, the ISTH is the leading worldwide not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing the understanding, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of thrombotic and bleeding disorders. The ISTH is an international membership organization with nearly 4,000 clinicians, researchers and educators working together to improve the lives of patients in more than 90 countries around the world. Among its highly regarded activities and initiatives are education and standardization programs, research activities, meetings and conferences, peer-reviewed publications and expert committees. Visit ISTH online at www.isth.org or call the ISTH at +1-919-929-3807.

For updates on World Thrombosis Day, stay connected with us on Facebook (WorldThrombosisDay) and Twitter (@ThrombosisDay).

[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 Oct;98(4):756-64

[2] Surgeon General's Call to Action to Prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism (2008). US Department of Health and Human Services.

[3] Heit J, Cohen A, Anderson F. Estimated annual number of incident and recurrent, non-fatal and fatal venous thromboembolism (VTE) events in the US. Blood 2005;106:267A

[4] Yusuf H, Tsai J, Atrash H, Boulet S, Grosse S. Venous thromboembolism in adult hospitalizations–United States – 2007-2009. MMWR 2012;61:no. 22:401-404

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