Nearly 550,000 Hospitalized Adults Have Blood Clots Yearly

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More than half a million of hospitalized U.S. adults will experience a serious blood clot during their hospital stay, according to a new government report.

There were nearly 350,000 cases of blood clots that developed deep in the veins, called deep vein thrombosis, and nearly 280,000 cases of clots that developed in the lungs, called pulmonary embolism, according to the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (In about 80,000 cases, both types of clots developed; these cases were counted in both categories.)

In addition, researchers reported that the risk of experiencing either type of blood clot increases substantially for hospital patients over age 60.

Blood clot risk is known to be higher during hospitalization — the risk is increased by factors such as immobility and recent surgery — but the condition is also highly preventable, according to the report.

The risk can be lowered by giving patients an antithrombotic drug, or through other mechanical procedures. The CDC is currently working with hospitals to implement preventative procedures, the report said.

Among hospital patients in their 60s, blood clots occurred at a rate of 391 per 100,000 patients, the report said. That number rises to 727 per 100,000 among patients in their 70s, and 1,134 per 100,000 among people over age 80. Among patients ages 18 to 39, the rate was 60 per 100,000. 

There was no difference in rate of blood clots between male and female patients. On average, 28,726 patients suffering blood clot died yearly.

The researchers used data collected between 2007 and 2009 by the National Hospital Discharge Survey, and then extrapolated to estimate the yearly average numbers.

The report was limited, the researchers noted, in that it was impossible to tell from the data if a blood clot formed while the patient was staying in the hospital, or prior to the stay. Additionally, the report relied on discharge records, which are slightly less accurate than medical reports. Further, individual patients were not distinguished, so if one person was hospitalized multiple times for a blood clot, this counted as multiple cases.

The study was released by the CDC today (June 7).

Pass it on: Over half a million Americans experience a blood clot during a hospital stay annually.

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Live Science Staff
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