Vitale Resolution Raises Awareness Of Dangers Of Deep-Vein Thrombosis

TRENTON – A resolution sponsored by Senator Joseph F. Vitale which would declare March of every year as “Deep-Vein Thrombosis Awareness Month” in New Jersey was unanimously approved by the Senate today.

“DVT (Deep-Vein Thrombosis) is the most serious form of hospital death that many people have never even heard of,” said Senator Vitale, D-Middlesex. “It’s an entirely preventable disease, but all too often people don’t know that they’re at risk, and don’t seek medical attention to prevent a life-threatening complication. We need to do more to get the word out about DVT, and ensure that New Jersey’s residents know the dangers and treatments for the disease.”

The resolution, SJR-45, would require New Jersey to recognize March of each year as “Deep-Vein Thrombosis Awareness Month.” DVT is a common but serious medical condition that occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep vein, usually in the lower limbs, leading to either partially or completely blocked circulation. A complication of DVT is pulmonary embolism, which can occur when a blood clot breaks free from the wall of a vein and travels to the lungs, blocking the pulmonary artery or one of its branches. Pulmonary embolism is the most common, preventable cause of hospital death in the United States, resulting in 200,000 deaths each year, or more than the number of deaths caused by AIDS, breast cancer and motor vehicle accidents combined.

Symptoms of DVT may include pain, swelling and increased temperature, tenderness, discoloration or redness of the affected area. However, as many as half of all DVT episodes produce minimal symptoms, and in many cases, symptoms may point to other conditions such as muscle strains, skin infections of phlebitis.

This resolution is in honor of the memory of the late NBC news correspondent David Bloom, who died due to pulmonary embolism caused by DVT while covering the war in Iraq in 2003. Since his sudden death, his widow, Melanie, has been an outspoken advocate for increased awareness of the dangers of DVT and the prevention and early detection of DVT.

“The tragic and sudden death of David Bloom, and the courage shown by his wife Melanie in promoting greater understanding of the disease that killed her husband, should stand as a testament for the need to raise awareness,” said Senator Vitale. “Every year in the United States, nearly 2 million people are affected by DVT, and more than half a million are hospitalized due to this preventable, treatable disease. People need to understand the risks and warning signs of DVT, so they can seek appropriate medical treatment and avoid the sort of tragedy that affected Melanie and her family.”

The bill now heads to the Assembly for consideration. If approved, it will head to the Governor to be signed into law.