Danny Sparkes, our new Public Governor for Runnymede, writes on her experience of the recent Members event.
A long with many Members of the Trust, I attended the recent Members’ presentation by Rebecca Bushby on Venous Thromboembolism. Rebecca is a VTE Prevention Nurse Specialist at Ashford and St. Peter’s and has recently had an article published on the “Safety and Efficacy of Enoxaparin for Thromboprophylaxis in Obese Patients” accepted by ’Thrombus’, a highly respected publication, showing her considerable knowledge of the subject.
Having worked in medicine for more years than I care to remember, I thought I knew a bit about VTE—how wrong could I be? Having listened to Rebecca for a few minutes, her knowledge and enthusiasm bowled me over, and I realised that my comprehension was lacking!
I was aware that clots could form in leg veins after long periods of sitting or lying, especially after bed rest. I also was aware that clots could form in the pelvis, but in the arm? That was certainly news to me. How big can a clot be? I naively thought the size of a pea. But we were told potentially the length of a limb and the substance of jam! How fast could that clot move into the heart and lungs? - only a couple of seconds!
The thought of a clot that size travelling through the body in a few seconds and lodging in the lungs is frightening, but how reassuring that this can be treated if caught in time. Lower molecular weight heparin seems to be the coagulant of choice, which can be given by injection.
It was interesting to learn that VTE caused at least 10 times more deaths than MRSA. The Trust is working hard to eliminate any VTE in patients being admitted to hospital and patients are often given small doses of anti-coagulant prior to surgery. But we can all help in minimising the risks before coming into hospital, be aware, keep taking fluids, wear the stockings, and keep moving!