The past few weeks I’ve been combing through the literature that exists about DVT, PE, awareness, education, social media, public health, etc. I’ve read numerous journal articles and have a substantial amount of my literature review completed.

I wanted to share with you all some interesting things that I’ve found so far:

1. In 25% of people who develop a pulmonary embolism the first sign/symptom that they have a PE is sudden death. (CDC) No matter how many times I read this statistic it still blows my mind each time.

2. There’s a great journal article that identifies various DVT resources that physicians can direct their patients to.  (The only problem here is it’s not really accessible to the general public) It’s entitled Deep vein thrombosis — online methods of patient education. (Crisan, Crisan, Buzdugan, Vesa, & Pestrea, 2010) 

3. In 2008 the US Surgeon General published a “call to action to prevent DVT/PE.” It outlines the problem and calls for three major things to be done in the future related to DVT/PE. The first of which is to have the public know about and understand DVT/PE. (USDHHS) And that’s what we’re trying to do!

4. One study of 230 post-Cesarean women found that only 46% of them knew what DVT/PE was. Of those 46% less than 25% knew pregnancy and C-section were risk factors for blood clots. (Alzoubi, Khassawneh, Obeidat, Asfoor, & Al-azzam, 2013) This demonstrates the absolute loophole in the system. How is it that every single woman in this study had just had a C-section, every single one of them was at risk for blood clots, and not even half of them knew this?! 

There’s just a glimpse of some of the information I’ve found. Here’s just a few other updates too. Our Twitter account is just getting up and running so I’ll be sure to post more about that here soon! Also a new website it in the works as well and will hopefully be up by the end of the summer! Keep following along. 🙂 

My advisor told me that she had heard of this app that could calculate your risk for a deep vein thrombosis or a pulmonary embolism, and I decided I had to check it out!

It’s referred to as a Wells Score. You check off factors that apply to you, and it generates a number that can tell you how at risk you or a loved one is for a dvt/pe.


It’s a free app that you can download from the Apple store or the Android store.
Download it yourself and give it a try!

So many people around the world suffer from blood clots every year. In the US millions of people are affected by deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism (the focus of my research, although there are many other types of blood clots). An estimated 100,000-300,000 die every year in the US alone from DVT/PE. It can happen to anyone, politicians, professional athletes, or just your average person.

Among those affected are many famous people including:

David Bloom, late NBC reporter


Hillary Clinton, former First Lady and Secretary of State


Dick Cheney, former Vice President

Regis Philbin, talk show host

Adam McQuaid, NHL player, Boston Bruins

Joey Sindelar, professional golfer

Jamie Reno, journalist 

Serena Williams, professional tennis player

Frida Kahlo, late artist

Jimmy Stewart, late actor, “It’s a Wonderful Life”


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Ten years ago today NBC 10 reporter David Bloom died of a DVT/PE. His wife Melanie is now the spokeswoman for the Coalition to Prevent DVT. For my post this week there was a tribute to David on the Today Show. David was not even 40 years old and he was in good health. His blood clot formed while sitting in a tank overseas. Neither David nor his wife knew of this condition or knew that he was at risk. It’s the perfect example of why people should care about this…it can happen to anyone. It really highlights why this is such a big issue. Take 4 minutes to check it out, its moving.

Today Ericka, Ali, and I all presented our proposals to the nursing curriculum committee. All of us were approved to continue on with our projects!!!  

We met with 6-10 nursing professors and several students who participate in the committee. We all sat around a table and informally presented our ideas. I think we were all a bit nervous at first, but it went very well.

The next thing all three of us have to do is create our surveys and get them approved by the RIC Institutional Review Board. We all set different deadlines for that. My goal is to have my survey created and approved by September. I also plan to have the literature review done by then (looks like I’ll be having a fun summer), and I will distribute my survey in October. I am going to analyze all my data in Nov/Dec and start to create educational materials. Once the new year begins, I’ll be piloting an education campaign. I’m really excited for where this project is headed.

Now that the three of us are all set with proposal approval we can focus on helping the rest of our class to formulate theirs! I think that’s about all the updating for now.


So after a lot of debate I think I may have finally arrived at what I want to do for my project. The problem that I was having was wanting to take on too many different aspects related to this deep vein thrombosis/pulmonary embolism. I think that I have to wrap my head around the idea that I can’t solve the whole problem by myself in just one year. So here’s what I’m thinking:
1. Based on the literature I have read so far, and will continue to search for, there is very little research and documentation about public knowledge related to dvt/pe. I want to create this research since it doesn’t seem to exist. I’m thinking of using survey monkey and finding a way through the internet to reach as many people as possible. The survey would contain questions regarding:
-demographics, occupation, education level, etc.
-have you heard of dvt/pe?/what is it?
-if yes, can you identify any S/S?
-if yes, can you identify any risk factors?
-how do you obtain your health information?/how would you like to obtain it?
2, And next I would analyze the data and find out how many people actually don’t know about the topic. (since this number really is unknown)
3. I’m thinking that the results of the survey would then be what drives the education campaign. It would show where the knowledge deficit is and also how people obtain their health info. (I can also look into other education campaigns that have been done and see if there would be a way to model mine.)
4. Some of the ideas related to the education campaign I would then like to implement include:
-PSA (possibly get it onto youtube)
-radio ads
-risk assessment app for phone
-short app for phone- quick dvt/pe facts or FAQs related to dvt/pe
-posters in airports/mention it the flight safety video/info in the packs on the back of the seat
-twitter pages (and find other people who have been affected by this topic to tweet at and spread the video/spread the word)
-and various other things/social medias 
I woke up yesterday morning with no idea what I was planning to do, but while sitting in the honors colloquium I started to write in my notebook. Four or five full pages into it this is what I came up with. I think this is a topic/issue that is going to become graduate work for me and for now I’m just beginning to delve into it. Clot prevention is a huge issue that has so many contributing factors, there is no simple solution. I think educating the public will allow people to be more aware of their health and also empower them to advocate for themselves. As nurses I think that education, empowerment, and advocacy are such important parts of what we do.  I also think that educating the public not only educates lay people but reinforces it to all healthcare workers since they are obviously going to be exposed to it as well. I think it’s a good jumping off point to start with.
Any feedback? 

So my last post wasn’t exactly the mind mapping we were supposed to do this week and I’m know that I’m really late with this (I’ll blame Nemo) but here goes nothing.

As I’ve said before this topic became of interest to me because of my dad. Looking at what happened to him and so many other people makes me want to find the loop hole in the system/the reason that it keeps happening. I’ve pointed out that DVT is a preventable condition so in my mind I don’t understand why it has the high morbidity and mortality rates that it does.
I mind-mapped on my own a few months ago and here’s what I came up with:
1. I was at first looking for ways to prevent DVT. Plain and simple. Just ways to prevent it from occurring. But then I realized that’s been done — there are tons of things that can prevent it (Heparin and Lovenox injections, TED stockings, sequential compression devices, early ambulations, filters placed in the veins to prevent DVT from turning into a PE, etc.)
2. So the next question I asked was whether doctors and nurses weren’t aware enough of this condition.  Is there not enough coverage within medical schools and nursing school curriculums? Through a literature search of medical and nursing journals I’ve found tons of research about how to prevent DVT. I don’t know if that’s the biggest issue either.
3. That’s what brought me to the idea of public education. There have been various campaigns regarding different health conditions that have improved knowledge and decreased mortality rates. A good example of this is the FAST campaign regarding strokes. I think that has increased many people’s knowledge of stroke and the early signs/symptoms and because of this more lives have been saved.
4. I figure most people know the warning signs of stroke or a heart attack (I plan to do a survey to be sure of this) but no one has ever even heard of DVT. And if they haven’t heard of it they definitely can’t identify risk factors or symptoms. This is what I think the biggest problem is. In order to promote optimum health for people they need to be able to take charge, be knowledgable about their own bodies, and make decisions that are in their best interest.

I’m about halfway done with my proposal (which is due by March 20th, so I’m shooting for having it done by spring break) and I’m stuck now. I’m still not 100% what direction to take this in. I think I want to create a PSA and various other materials that can inform the lay person of this condition. I also need to find a way to get information out to people that they will actually pay attention to. Creating a video is only useful if people actually watch it, etc.

Any ideas where to head with this?

I’m currently doing research about a health condition called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Now as you’re reading this, many of you might be wondering what DVT is. That’s exactly why I’m doing this research.

DVT is a condition in which blood clots form in a persons extremities (usually their legs) when a person is immobile for a lengthy amount of time. This could be from a long airplane ride or from being in bed after an injury or surgery. DVT manifests as redness, warmth, and pain in the affected leg. The leg also becomes swollen and larger than the other, unaffected leg.  There are many complications that can occur from DVT.  One of them is called a pulmonary embolism (PE), and it occurs when a piece of the blood clot breaks off and travels to a person’s lungs. The person may cough, have some shortness of breath, or appear to have pneumonia-like symptoms. Very often these symptoms are mild, but if this complication is not recognized and treated immediately, it is often fatal.

DVT is a health issue that hits extremely close to home for me. Several years ago my dad suffered a deep vein thrombosis after dislocating his knee. He also developed a pulmonary embolism. When my dad left the hospital after having his knee splinted, the doctors told him to sit still and not to move for fear of re-dislocating it. My dad did exactly that. None of the doctors or nurses who saw him that afternoon thought to tell him or my mom that he should wiggle his toes to keep the blood moving. Both of my parents are highly educated, and neither one of them had known that he was at risk for such serious complications.

Fortunately for my family and I, after a lengthy recovery today my dad is happy and healthy. However this is not the case for many other families. Every single year in the US, DVT and PE kill between 60,000-100,000 people ( That is more people than AIDS, car accidents, and breast cancer COMBINED.

It is my hypothesis that if more people in the general public were aware of the condition, and knew about the signs and symptoms that hopefully that number would be less. My goal is to develop a public education campaign to increase knowledge about this condition. DVT and it’s complications are unlike cancer and other diseases. Many other diseases have genetic factors that predispose a person to it and although a healthy lifestyle helps, many diseases are still unpreventable. I’m going to be bold enough to say that DVT is 100% preventable. There are medications and stockings that can decrease clotting in addition to simple things like ankle exercises. There is no reason for DVT/PE to be the leading cause of preventable deaths among patients while they are in the hospital (

So I’ve been hunting around at various other blogs and some interesting ones I’ve found are:

Clot Connect

The Standford School of Medicine blog

The American Journal of Medicine blog

The Harvard Medical School blog

And a few others