Salt Lake City, Utah (ABC4 UTAH) — Up to 900,000 people in the United States alone are affected by thrombosis or blood clots each year and about 100,000 of those people will die.

Thrombosis is the formation of a blood clot in a blood vessel. The vessel may be any artery or vein. Once formed, the clot can block or slow the normal flow of blood and even break loose and travel to an organ. A blood clot that travels is called an embolism. 

Venous thromboembolism or “VTE” is a condition in which blood clots form most often in the deep veins of the leg. Those are known as deep vein thrombosis or “DVT” and can travel in the circulation and lodge in the lungs. When that happens, it’s known as pulmonary embolism, or “PE.”

“VTE is the number one cause of preventable hospital associated deaths which, when taken together, is associated with more deaths annually than AIDS, breast cancer and motor vehicle accidents combined,” said Scott Woller, MD, chair of the department of medicine at Intermountain Medical Center and a specialist in thrombosis medicine. “It’s important to be proactive. If you have a concern, contact your health care professional immediately.”

Know the Signs and Symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

  • Pain and or tenderness in the calf or thigh
  • Redness, discoloration, and or warmth
  • Swelling of the leg, foot and/or ankle

Risk Factors

  • Inheriting a blood-clotting disorder
  • Prolonged bed rest
  • Trauma or surgery
  • Pregnancy
  • Birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy
  • Being overweight or obese – BMI of 30 +
  • Smoking
  • Cancer
  • Heart failure
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Family history of DVT
  • Sitting for long periods of time


  • Your provider may order an ultrasound, or a CT scan to assess for blood clots.
  • Your provider may also refer you to a specialist who treats blood conditions.


  • Your provider may prescribe you an anticoagulant (blood thinner).
  • Should you experience a blood clot during pregnancy, your doctor may prescribe you medicine to prevent you from developing a blood clot should you become pregnant again.

Intermountain derived a new risk score that predicts which hospitalized patients are at risk for developing blood clots after being discharged to protect them during the highest risk period.

They have also conducted the largest study ever of hospitalized trauma patients to assess whether routine surveillance ultrasound during hospitalization better protects patients from blood clots.

Intermountain investigators advise the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on how to best identify blood clot risk in patients to protect them from blood clots and how to best identify pulmonary embolism in the emergency department.

Learn more about Intermountain Healthcare and how they can help you by visiting their website.

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