Surgeon general calls for awareness of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism

Concerned that these conditions are often unrecognized at early stages, acting Surgeon General Steve K. Galson, MD, MPH has issued a notice encouraging physicians to be more aware of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. These conditions affect 350,000 to 600,000 Americans every year, and can contribute to as many as 100,000 deaths each year. That number may climb, meanwhile, as more of the population ages and passes 50, the point at which they're at increased risk.

The Surgeon General's call to action is intended to highlight some key warning signs, including pain or swelling in an arm or leg, skin redness or a warm spot on a leg. Pulmonary embolism can cause shortness of breath. Physicians might first consider diagnosing these problems as skin infections or muscle strains instead of DVT in many cases, and shortness of breath may be attributed to patients' being out of shape.

The report also points out some well-known triggers for DVT, including taking hormones, having received  bad bump or bruise, having had a stroke, being obese or taking a trip of more than an hour in a car, airplane, bus or train.

To learn more about the latest guidance on this condition:
- read this AMNews article