Is It Time For a Change?

Is It Time For a Change?

March has just past, and March is designated as DVT Awareness Month.   Should “DVT Awareness Month” be changed to “Blood Clot Awareness Month”?  Now would be a good time to begin a discussion about whether or not the name should be changed for March 2013.

NBCA has always supported promoting DVT awareness in the month of March. However, we have learned that despite years of promoting DVT awareness, including an excellent report issued by the US Surgeon General’s office in 2008 “DVT Awareness” is not catching on. In NBCA’s nation-wide awareness survey (2010), we learned that 21% and 16% of the general population knew what a DVT and PE meant respectively; while 82% understood the meaning of “blood clot”– NBCA understands that the vast majority of the general population do not know what a DVT or PE is but most have a good understanding of the meaning of “blood clot”.  And further, 99% of those who understand the meaning of “blood clots” recognize that it is potentially life-threatening.

Based on these facts should we start promoting March as “Blood Clot Awareness Month” instead of “DVT Awareness Month”? The advantages are clear because a “blood clot” is clearly understood by the general public.  Based on this data, NBCA changed its name from the National Alliance for Thrombosis and Thrombophilia to the National Blood Clot Alliance so that the nature of our mission was clearly understood by those who heard our name.

If we changed our name to help bridge this communication gap, could the public health urgency of blood clots be more effectively communicated by simplifying the terminology to better communicate blood clot prevention messages?  Just imagine a blood clot awareness campaign in which we could clearly communicate to the public, the importance of understanding:

  • Blood clot signs and symptoms
  • Blood clot risk factors

On the other hand, is it more important that we continue to position DVT / Deep Vein Thrombosis and PE / Pulmonary Embolism in front of the public view so that the understanding of the serious clinical dimensions of blood clots are more widely understood?

Every year there are more than 600,000 blood clots and 100,000 related deaths that occur in the US according to the US Surgeon General.  Awareness was a center piece in the 2008 Surgeon General’s “Call to Action”.  Much of this burden can be prevented if awareness among patients, the general public and healthcare professionals was improved.

Will changing the name of “DVT Awareness Month” to “Blood Clot Awareness Month” help bridge this awareness gap?  Please let us know your view by email atinfo@stoptheclot.org  as we hope that this would be a constructive discussion topic during the upcoming months so that we could all get behind a “DVT Awareness Month” or “Blood Clot Awareness Month” in the years ahead.  Thank you for sharing your views which we will summarize and share

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