A report by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has found that lives are being put at risk by the failure to diagnose promptly patients with a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism (PE).
DVTs occur for many reasons, but pregnant women, cancer patients and those who are immobile have a higher risk than the general population. Typically, but not in all cases, a DVT forms in the calf and causes redness, pain and swelling. Parts of the clot can break off and travel to the lungs, a pulmonary embolism, which is often fatal. In 2007, there were 17,000 deaths in England and Wales in which a DVT or PE was a factor in the cause of death.
A DVT is detected by a combination of blood testing and ultrasound and treated with anticoagulant drugs which prevent the clot from growing and allow it to break down. In almost all cases, this will prevent a fatal PE, but it is possible that a delay in diagnosing a DVT will still lead to damage to the blood vessels in the affected limb and may cause a condition known as post thrombotic syndrome, which is often painful and can be disabling.
NICE has found that there are wide variances in the way in which possible cases of DVT or PE are investigated and has called for all patients in which either a DVT or PE is suspected to undergo a blood test and ultrasound scan within 24 hours.
As specialist medical negligence solicitors, Gadsby Wicks have acted in many cases where a failure to diagnose a DVT or PE has led to long term disability or death. If you or a member of your family have suffered as a result of a DVT or PE, we might be able to help you. Call us on 0800 321 3112 for a no obligation discussion with our staff.Posted 29th June 2012 | Posted in News,Uncategorised