e-Newsletter - January 2016
Advancing the Prevention, Early Diagnosis, and
Treatment of Life-Threatening Blood Clots
Research is the Remedy  

Throughout human history, the ongoing pursuit of knowledge --  as well as the occasional dose of scientific serendipity -- has brought about the most important discoveries and advancements ever made, particularly in the field of medicine. Primitively, we first attempted to understand disease and illness through purely external factors, such as germs and circumstances. Modern medical science, which is based on molecular biology, actually began as late as 1953, with the discovery of the structure of DNA and the ability to understand the intrinsic pathways of human disease. 

Since that time, medical research has been imperative in the quest to understand illness and eliminate disease, including efforts to comprehend and treat venous thromboembolism (VTE ). In this newslet ter, we have chosen just a few topics relating to emerging research to highlight some recent advances in the understanding, d iagnosis, and treatment of deep vein thrombosis (DVT or blood clots in the legs) and pulmonary embolism (PE or blood clots in the lungs). 
In recent decades, options for the prevention and treatment of blood clots were limited in number. In rec ent years, however, research has paved the way for some exciting new advancements. Perhaps most notable among these advances, the development of new oral anticoagulants or blood thinners. For roughly fifty years or more, warfarin was the only oral anticoagulant available for the prevention and treatment of blood clots. With the recent introduction of new oral anticoagulants, such as r ivaroxaban, apixaban, dabigatran and edoxaban, for example,  patients and their healthcare providers now have the ability to consider a broader spectrum of choices. 

The differences between these medications are just as important as the differences between the patients they treat. VTE is not a one-size-fits-all disease; and,  just as varied as the individuals who experience a blood clot, are the risk factors and causes, lifestyle effects, and needed treatments.  The more options available, the better the existing treatment scenario for patients.     

Although much is known today about blood clots and how to treat them, there remains much to be learned. New research provides optimism, as well as the hope that safe and effective treatment options will continue to emerge and patient care and well being will continue to improve. 

Dx and Tx: New Guidelines Emerging

The fruits of research frequently deliver more than just new drug treatments. Many times, the lessons learned through drug discovery will lead to other related changes in overall patient care, such as improved methods for diagnosis and the identification of best practices related to different treatment options. 

For e xample, a recent  peer-reviewed study -- p ublished in the Annals of Internal Medicine, and involving  more than 1,700 studies, abstracts, and medical rep orts over the span of several decades -- outlines new evidence-based guidance for the optimal evaluation of patients with suspected blood clots in their lungs. Developed by the American College of Physicians, this new guidance outlines steps that can be taken to improve diagnostic accuracy, offset potential patient harm, and eliminate undue expense.  Read the complete study here.  
In addition, the Americ an College of Chest Physicians recentl issu ed new guidelines 
about the use of antithrombotic therapy for blood clots in the legs and lungs, including guidanc e about the use of new oral anticoagulants in  patients with cancer, the use of aspirin therapy after stopping oral anticoagulants, the effectiveness of compression stockings to prevent post-thrombotic syndrome, and the treatment of low-risk PE patie nts.  Read these guidelines in greater detail here .
Also, visit NBCA's website and learn more about how PE is diagnosed by clicking here and r ead about the signs and symptoms of PE  here

Good News: First Antidote Approved, More to Follow 

One of the most important discussions surrounding the introduction of the new direct oral anticoagulation therapies has involved the much anticipated availability of an antidote or medication to reverse the effects of the newer therapies should a patient experience a bleeding incident while taking any of the newer treatments. 

Bleeding complications are a common concern with the use of all blood thinners. In certain  situations, such as an emergency or trauma, reversing or neutralizing the effects of an anticoagulant is critical. 

For patients who are being treated with warfarin, vitamin K exists to reverse the effects of its blood thinning properties.   

However, reversal agents for the newer therapies remained elusive until recently when, in  October 2015, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted approval of idarucizumab. This new antidote is cleared for use among patients who are taking dabigatran during emergency situations when a need to reverse the medication's blood-thinning effects occurs.
As 2016 unfolds, reversal therapies for the other new oral anticoagulants are expected to become available, potentially expanding options for patients who may be considering treatment with a new oral anticoagulant instead of warfarin. To read more about the future of reversal agents, click here.      
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Successful Pre-Op Use of Blood Thinners in Cancer Patients 

People undergoing major operations, especially when diagnosed with cancer, are at increased risk for a blood clot in the leg or arm. If the blood clot breaks loose from the leg vein, travels to the lungs, and blocks the blood vessels that supply the lungs with oxygen, it can be deadly. 

While treatment with anticoagulation medications is commonly used to prevent blood clots following surgery, a recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons  found that the pre-operative use of blood-thinning drugs, such as intravenous heparin or low-molecular-weight heparin, were associated with a decreased risk for blood clots in cancer patients undergoing major surgery. In addition, this study found that there was no increased risk for major bleeding or transfusions during surgery with the use of preventive treatments.

As a result of these study findings,  Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center has adopted a "routine anticoagulation approach" for patients who meet certain criteria as a means to further prevent blood clots. 

To learn more about cancer and blood cl ots, click here .
 Community Connection

Dr. Jack Ansell Discusses Important Blood Clot Topics During Radio Interview
In a recent interview with the radio program Outbreak News, Dr. Jack Ansell, former Chair of Medicine, Lenox Hill Hospital, and Professor of Medicine, Hofstra-NorthShore/LIJ School of Medicine, spoke to host David Herriman, himself  a blood clot survivor, about blood clots. During the course of this on air discussion, Dr. Ansell, who also is a member of NBCA's Medical & Scientific Advisory Board, touched on several important topics, ranging from blood clot risk factors to new treatment options. Listen to the full interview here.  

Step-by-Step Event Planning for NBCA
Fundraising activities aimed at raising awareness and financial support help the NBCA fund its overall mission to advance the prevention, early diagnosis and successful treatment of life-threatening blood clots, and we need your help to further that mission in your community. We're here to help you plan a walk or other event to benefit NBCA by providing  step-by-step guidance about how to budget, organize, and execute your event. Our staff members are ready to assist you throughout the process to help your event be successful and enjoyable.  

50K A Day 
You may remember this Team Stop the Clot ® member from his 24-hour treadmill challenge last March. This year, blood clot survivor and NBCA Board member Eric O'Connor takes on the challenge of breaking a Guinness World Record by running 50k -- or 31 miles -- every day for 25 days to raise funds and awareness to help prevent deadly blood clots.  Follow Eric on his latest journey .

Forever Young - In Memory of Paul Englert, Jr.
At just 19 years old, Paul Englert Jr. was a big-hearted and athletic young man. After experiencing shortness of breath, Paul was diagnosed with and treated for asthma. However, he suddenly passed away from a pulmonary embolism while attending college in 2013. Paul's story is a sobering reminder that blood clots can happen to anyone. Paul's family has made it their mission to educate others about the risks and symptoms of blood clots. To honor Paul's memory, they will be holding an event on March 6, 2016, in Clarence, New York. To purchase tickets or make a donation, please visit Forever Young Fundraiser.

Team Stop The Clot® Heads to North Carolina
Are you interested in running or walking a full or half marathon to help raise funds and awareness for the National Blood Clot Alliance? The Tobacco Road Marathon offers fast, picturesque trails and has been recognized by Runner's World as one of the Ten Best New Marathons. Join Team Stop The Clot® on March 13, 2016, in Cary, North Carolina. Click here and check out "The Story."

  Get Engaged in Your Community Today

Join the  National Blood Clot Alliance Online Support Group and Discussion Community
a safe and supportive place where you  can inspire and be inspired.

Sign up for free here:   Let's connect

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