Last year, a large-scale study of the American College of Chest Physicians concluded that only one-third of US hospital inpatients at increased risk for venous thromboembolism (VTE) received the recommended care.
Roughly 300,000 Americans die of VTE each year. When blood clots develop in a person’s leg veins, they can travel to the heart or to the lungs. Damage to those organs can occur, ultimately leading to death. In the majority of cases VTE is preventable and successfully treated—if diagnosed early. The disorder has garnered extra media attention recently, due to the untimely death of reporter David Bloom and a clot suffered by actor Kevin Costner.
To combat this growing problem, March has been declared Deep Venous Awareness Month.
The Surgeon General and the National Institutes of Health have identified vein disease as one of the top five health issues facing Americans today. This is partly due to the large range of risk factors, such as lengthy travel, immobility, recent surgery, obesity, hormone replacement, family history, inherited clotting disorders, or simply aging past 40. These risks are additive.
On the local front, Englewood Hospital has been a trailblazer, implementing the most comprehensive set of screening procedures to identify those at risk and inpatient monitoring standards to minimize the risk of developing VTE.
Steven Elias MD, Director of The Center for Vein Disease, has spearheaded the effort. “For well over a year, we have had a multidisciplinary approach in place to prevent and treat complications from blood clots,” he said, “Prevention is key. For the past five years, we have offered free vein screenings twice a year to identify those at risk. Hundreds in the community have benefited. In addition, we now have minimally invasive procedures that dissolve and remove life-threatening blood clots in just a few hours. These procedures utilize devices that require no incisions and only local anesthesia. Many patients are discharged within 24 hours.”
For those not already under the Center’s care, Dr. Elias offered the following advice: “Know your risk factors, get information that can be provided by our center or others specializing in vein disease.” He emphasized, “This is a highly preventable and highly treatable disease. Awareness is paramount. That is what we strive for at The Center for Vein Disease."
About Dr. Steven Elias
Dr. Elias is the Director of the Center for Vein Disease at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center in New Jersey and Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. He also proctors surgeons at their own institutions when they are performing their first minimally invasive vein procedures and, in this capacity, he has traveled to the Mayo Clinic, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Case Western Reserve, Columbia Presbyterian, Mount Sinai Hospital and Montefiore Medical Center. He has been featured on CNN, Fox News, CBS, NBC and ABC. Dr. Elias is a fellowship-trained vascular surgeon with the Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member of the American Venous Forum, American College of Phlebology, Society for Clinical Vascular Surgery, and the International Society of Cardiovascular Surgery. Dr. Elias resides in New Jersey with his wife, Maria and four children.