Expert & Leader of department: Prof. Christian Waydhas, Dr.
Thrombosis is the occlusion of a blood vessel caused by the formation of a blood clot (thrombus). The deep veins in the leg and pelvic area are most frequently affected. Unlike in the superficial venous system, there is a greater risk in the deep venous system of the clot detaching itself. When this happens, the thrombus can pass through the bloodstream, through the heart and into pulmonary arteries, causing congestion. This is the dreaded pulmonary embolism, which often leads to cardiac arrest due to the sudden overexertion of the heart. It is estimated that up to 40,000 people die in Germany every year as a consequence of thrombosis, that is, 0.1 - 0.2 percent of the population. The average risk of deep vein thrombosis increases significantly over the age of 60.
The main objective in thrombosis prevention is to act upon the factors responsible for the formation of blood clots. One path is medication, e.g. anticoagulant drugs like Heparin. Further important measures are the mobilization of the patient at an early stage, raising the patient's legs and wearing medical thromboprophylactic stockings (MTS). These stockings compress the veins in the legs of bed-ridden, immobile patients and accelerate the venous bloodstream.
Although these preventative measures follow the AWMF S3-guidelines for the prophylaxis of venous thromboembolism (VTE), there is currently a heated discussion on the subject among experts. This is further heated by guidelines that leave considerable room for interpretation by individual physicians. Thus, anticoagulants must always be carefully weighed against the individual risk of haemorrhaging.
Due to the high incidence and number of fatalities caused by thrombosis, as well as the above-mentioned controversy among physicians and users, the “Thrombosis Prophylaxis” group of experts was founded under the auspices of the Medical Data Institute. The working group will differentiate more closely between the risks and benefits in terms of therapeutic measures and propose clear-cut recommendations. The objective is to establish greater clarity on effective thrombosis prevention.