Helping you to avoid a DVT
Preventing Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) when in hospital
Not all blood clots can be prevented but the risk of developing one whilst you are in hospital can be significantly reduced. The Government has made VTE prevention a top clinical priority for improving quality in this area. At the pre-admisison clinic or when you are admitted into hospital, your risk will be assessed by a doctor or nurse. If you are not assessed you must ask the nurse or doctor to assess you.
If you are assessed at being at risk, you will be given a treatment (thromboprophylaxis) to reduce the clots forming. Orthopaedic operations such as joint replacement carries a higher risk and it is very important that the patient is made aware of the signs to look out for post-surgery and at discharge. Patients will be given information to help them understand the symptoms of a blood clot and what to do.
Your doctor will advise you of some important and simple things that you can do to help the risk
- Make sure you get up and about as soon as you are able to
- Exercise your legs whilst in bed
- Make sure you drink plenty of fluids
- Ensure you take any clot preventing medications prescribed whilst in hospital and after discharge as directed
The following suggestions apply for any long journey, such as coach, train car or plane, and also when sitting for any lengthy period.
- Keep your legs and feet active - every half hour, bend and straighten them to keep the blood circulating
- Press down on the balls of your feet, then raise the heels to help increase the blood flow in your legs
- Don't cross your legs
- Exercise your chest and upper body frequently
- Do deep breathing exercises to help improve circulation
- Walk up and down the aisles frequently
- If you are on a long flight which has refuelling stops, take the opportunity to leave the plane and walk about
- Drink plenty of water - preferably a glass every hour
- Avoid alcohol - or, if you must, take only small amounts. Alcohol will cause dehydration and sleepiness
- Avoid sleeping pills - they will cause you to be immobile for long periods
- Try not to sleep for too long in a cramped position - move about as much as possible and stretch out
- Make sure you have had plenty of rest before you make a lengthy journey so that you are not too tired