Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism

The Call to Action is science-based document to stimulate action nationwide to solve a major public health problem.

Who is the Call to Action for?

The Call to Action urges all Americans to understand the risk factors and triggering events for developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism (PE), to recognize the symptoms, and to work with their healthcare providers to prevent and treat these potentially fatal conditions. It includes steps for communities (including patients and their families), the healthcare system, and policymakers and the government.

What is the Call to Action?

The three key goals of the Call to Action are to:

  • Increase awareness among consumers, healthcare providers, and healthcare administrators about the risk factors, triggering events, and symptoms of DVT and PE
  • Develop evidence-based practices for screening, preventing, diagnosing, and treating DVT and PE, especially among high-risk groups, and implement systems to ensure that these practices are routinely applied by medical professionals in all settings
  • Continue conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and epidemiological research on the causes of DVT and PE, to understand why certain groups are at increased risk, and to develop novel treatment and prevention strategies

Why is the Surgeon General issuing this Call to Action to all Americans?

  •  DVT and PE affect an estimated 350,000 to 600,000 Americans each year and are expected to increase with the US aging population
  • Together, DVT and PE are estimated to contribute to at least 100,000 deaths each year
  • Anyone can develop DVT and PE. DVT and PE are more likely to develop in a person who has an inherited blood clotting disorder or other risk factor, and who experiences a triggering event, such as hospitalization, surgery, or long periods of immobility, such as during travel
  • DVT and PE affect both men and women, and risk increases with age, especially after age 50
  • Women who are pregnant or take hormones (for birth control or menopausal therapy) are at increased risk
  • Caucasians and African Americans are more likely to develop DVT or a PE than other ethnic groups. African Americans are estimated to be at 30 percent greater risk compared to Caucasians
  • Other risk factors include a personal or family history of blood clots, smoking, cancer and its treatment, and overweight and obesity
  • DVT and PE can often be prevented and treated.

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