The Unknown Seriousness of Fatal Blood Clots

Blood clots are common and a lot of people are aware of the risks of getting a blood clot. Different medications, hereditary factors, health conditions, amongst other life events such as pregnancy and traveling long distances can impose a risk of developing a blood clot. Your doctors typically run through blood clots as a risk factor in a series standard precaution to take. But the uncommon problem that is not discussed is how a fatal blood clot can occur which is known as a Pulmonary Embolism.

Fatal blood clots begin as Deep vein thrombosis (DVT); is when a blood clot (blood thickening) forms in a vein deep in the body, most commonly the leg. If that blood clot detaches and travels to the lungs, it then becomes a life threatening complication known as a pulmonary embolism (PE). By raising awareness and taking preventative measure with DVT, the risk of a PE will be reduces ultimately saving lives.

In recent news according to the Chicago Tribune, Gary Shandling’s toxicology report just identified he died from a blood clot in his heart, more than seven months after the comedian’s unexpected death.   The fatal clot occurred after the comedian developed blood clots in his legs, a condition known as deep vein thrombosis. He had not been feeling well during a trip to Hawaii, the report stated. Shandling died March 24 after calling paramedics to his home.

dvt fun fact

Many factors play a role in someone’s increasing chance of contracting DVT. A person’s age, weight, body movement, family medical history, and current health conditions are all factors. People who have long periods of limited movement, such as traveling long flights like Gary Shandling traveling to Hawaii are at increased risk. When the legs are bent for a long period of time (4 hours) clots tend to form. The most common causes of DVT are things that affect clotting or the heart such as a heart attack, congestive heart failure, trauma, and long surgeries.

Symptoms of DVT range from mild to severe and may involve the foot, ankle, calf, whole leg or arm. The most common symptoms are:  pain, swelling, discoloration (bluish or reddish) and warmth. DVT becomes fatal if a pulmonary embolism (PE), occurs, which is when the blood clot detaches and travels to the lungs. According to Clearingtheclot.com; 50% of people with DVT experience no symptoms at all. This makes raising awareness in the healthcare community even more vital to save lives.

bloodclot-fatalityDVT is preventable and more measures need to be taken to prevent fatality. There are non-pharmaceutical prevention therapy regimens known as intermittent compression. Intermittent compression applies 50 mm of pressure to the calf.  When the calf is compressed all of the blood in the calf is forced into the thigh and out to the heart through the vena cava. This circulation of blood presents the clots from forming in the thigh and vena cava. The clots in the thigh and vena cava are the ones associated with travel to the heart and cause death.

To truly understand the seriousness of DVT please read patient stories here: https://www.stoptheclot.org/category/stories/patient-stories. These men and women have had their lives changed due to DVT and lived to tell their story.

DVT affects 1 to 2 people in every 1,000. The potential outcome is fatal and not enough people are aware. Many other celebrities have died from blood clots besides Gargy Shandling. If caught in time, fatalities can be prevented. According to Everyday Health and veinspecialist.com the following celebrities have battled with DVT and survived or passed from a fatality of PE:

  • Serena Williams, Tennis Champion (Survivor)
  • David Bloom, Journalist and News Anchor (Fatality)
  • Zsa Zsa Gabor, Actress (Survivor)
  • Brian Vickers, Racecar Driver (Survivor)
  • Regis Philbin, TV Show Host (Survivor)
  • Joey Sindelar, Professional Golfer (Survivor)
  • Heavy D, Rapper (Fatality)
  • Frida Kahlo, Artist (Fatality)
  • Jimmy Stewart, Actor & Air Force Brigadier General (Fatality)
  • Dennis Farina, Actor & Retired Police Officer (Fatality)
  • Michael Johns, Australian Singer (Fatality)
  • Jerome Kersey, Athlete (Fatality)

Portable Devices to Prevent DVT:

The Cirona® 6300 provides intermittent compression to the calf once a minute and has an 8 hour battery life and can be worn while out and about. It can also be worn during air flight and on long drives. The rechargeable batteries allow you to wear them while you sleep. For more information on this portable DVT prevention device please contact us at: info@devonmedical.com

DVT fun fact