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New patient information programme launched on thrombosis in pregnancy

Venous thromboembolism (VTE), or thrombosis, is the top direct cause of maternal death in the UK and Ireland. The new Patient Information Programme, along with the ongoing research taking place in the Rotunda Hospital, Dublin, hopes to inform and empower women to understand thrombosis and how healthcare professionals calculate risk, diagnose, treat, manage and prevent cases of VTE in pregnant women.

A patient information leaflet is made available to maternity hospitals around the country and the printable and web versions are available online for download.

The Rotunda Hospital also recently hosted a Patient Information Morning and Academic Conference.

 The aim of the conference was to raise awareness of thrombosis and its risks, both in obstetrics and oncology, and to showcase some of the current thrombosis research being done around Ireland. Patients, the public and healthcare professionals jointly participated to help cast light on the risks of thrombosis and to discuss advances in care.

Thrombosis Ireland introduced its newly-formed patient group during the conference. In addition, the Rotunda Hospital Thrombosis Group presented a demonstration of Thrombocalc, a novel risk-assessment tool for VTE that has been developed in the hospital.

Most women who died from pregnancy-associated VTE between 2011 and 2013 in the UK and Ireland had recognisable risk factors for thromboembolism. Many of these deaths may have been prevented if VTE risk assessment had been performed and appropriate anticoagulation prescribed. Thrombocalc ensures all women delivering within the Rotunda Hospital are appropriately assessed for VTE risk and thereby improve the prevention of VTE in these women. Dr Jen Donnelly demonstrated how the tool was developed and implemented in a presentation at the Academic Conference in the afternoon.

Some of the other ground-breaking thrombosis research presented in the afternoon included Dr Feras Abu Saadeh and Dr Kevin Ryan from St James’s Hospital, Dublin, who explored some unanswered questions about cancer, including gynaecological cancer and its associated thrombosis. Dr Fionnuala Ní Áinle, Consultant Haematologist at the Rotunda and Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin, gave an overview of the Rotunda’s thrombosis and pregnancy research.

 “I would encourage every woman who is pregnant or thinking about pregnancy, and her family, to know about blood clot risk. We greatly appreciated meeting and talking to many of our mums and their families on World Thrombosis Day,” she said.

 Prof Fergal Malone, Master, Rotunda Hospital, also commented: “Thrombocalc is yet another example of how internationally ground-breaking research, conducted at the Rotunda, is being translated into effective changes in antenatal and postnatal care, with a view towards further reducing the terrible complications associated with  thrombosis. Our next step is to ensure that all pregnant women in Ireland are aware of the risks associated with thrombosis and to ask their healthcare providers about individually risk-assessment techniques.”

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