Healthcare Industry News:  sanofi-aventis 

Biopharmaceuticals Cardiology

 News Release - March 25, 2007

Data Shows That Omission of Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) Prophylaxis in Hospitalized Medical Patients Is Frequent and Leads to Higher Risk of Deep-Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

Abstract #87
'This Information Was Presented at the American College of Cardiology's 56th Annual Scientific Session'

NEW ORLEANS, March 25 (HSMN NewsFeed) -- sanofi-aventis announced today results of DVT FREE, the largest prospective registry of DVT, presented at the American College of Cardiology's 56th Annual Scientific Session in New Orleans. The findings showed that hospitalized medical patients are at a higher risk for developing deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) than non-medical patients. Despite this finding, these patients are still not receiving the proper prophylactic treatment for DVT from their healthcare professionals.

The findings titled, "Double Trouble for 2,609 Hospitalized Medical Patients Who Developed Deep Venous Thrombosis: Prophylaxis Omitted More Often and Pulmonary Embolism More Frequent," found that hospitalized medical patients received venous thromboembolism (VTE) prophylaxis far less often (25.4%) than non-medical patients (53.8%) even though hospitalized medical patients demonstrated a significantly higher clot burden and suffer PE more often (22.2%) versus non-medical patients (15.5%).

"It is important to remember that hospitalized medical patients are immobilized and are at an increased risk for developing a DVT blood clot," said Samuel Z. Goldhaber, MD, Professor of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston and Co-Principal Investigator of DVT FREE, "By not prophylaxing these patients the medical community are nearly doubling their risk of developing a DVT and/or PE."

"These data identify hospitalized medical patients as a particularly vulnerable population with a higher clot burden and lower rate of VTE prophylaxis. This report should serve as a catalyst for further study to determine why prophylaxis is omitted and how utilization can be improved among hospitalized medical patients," said Gregory Piazza, MD, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston and Co-Principal Investigator of this DVT FREE analysis.

About the DVT FREE Registry Findings

The registry examined hospitalized medical patients in a prospective registry of 5,451 consecutive ultrasound-confirmed DVT patients at 183 institutions in the United States. Of the 5,451 patients who participated, 2,609 were hospitalized medical patients, 1,953 were hospitalized non-medical patients, 549 were treated exclusively as outpatients, and 340 had uncertain status.

Types of VTE prophylaxis in hospitalized medical patients administered include pneumatic compression devices, vascular compression stockings, subcutaneous unfractionated heparin and low molecular weight heparin.

The DVT FREE registry is funded by sanofi-aventis U.S. LLC.

About Venous Thromboembolism (VTE)

Venous thromboembolism is a general term used to describe the formation of a blood clot (thrombus) that blocks a vein. This may occur in any part of the venous system, but the most common manifestations are deep-vein thrombosis (DVT), usually in the leg, and pulmonary embolism (PE).

VTE is also a common complication among individuals who have experienced an acute ischemic stroke (AIS), a population of medically-ill patients at particularly high-risk for VTE.

About DVT and Pulmonary Embolism (PE)

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) entails the formation of blood clots within deep veins of the body, most commonly occurring in the lower extremity. DVT occurs up in near 2 million individuals in the United States (US), each year. Pulmonary embolism, a serious complication of DVT, at times fatal, is responsible for the death of up to 300,000 people each year in the U.S. -- more than breast cancer and AIDS combined. Yet, near three quarters of the American public is unaware of DVT and its complications, according to a national survey sponsored by the American Public Health Association.

The main problem underneath DVT involves a blockage of blood flow within the deep veins involved, owing to the formation of a blood clot within. Symptoms of acute leg pain and swelling may occur, as consequence of the blockade to blood flow. A PE occurs when part of the blood clot dislodges from its nest in the deep veins, and travels upstream by way of the blood flow, eventually reaching the lung, where it remains trapped. There ensues a blockade of the blood flow within the lungs. It interferes with the fresh oxygenation of blood within lungs, where naturally occurring within the body. There are many symptoms associated with PE, but the most common ones include shortness of breath, lateral chest pain worsened by deep breath in. The size and location of blood flow obstruction within the lungs determine in part the severity of the situation, in individual patients. Generally, severity goes up with the amount of blockade, and those who die from PE tend to have the largest of them all. There are well known risk factors to DVT, including prolonged immobility, major surgery, chronic medical ailments, cancer, age above 40 years, trauma, oral contraceptives, pregnancy and the post-partum.

The management of DVT includes prophylaxis, under certain risk conditions, and acute treatment in the patients in whom it occurred. The management of DVT involves several treatments including early mobilization, anti-embolism stockings or mechanical leg compression devices to enhance blood flow, and anticoagulants and/or blood-thinning drugs. It is important to consult your healthcare professional about the signs and symptoms associated with DVT.

About sanofi-aventis

sanofi-aventis is one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies. Backed by a world-class R&D organization, sanofi-aventis is developing leading positions in seven major therapeutic areas: cardiovascular, thrombosis, oncology, metabolic diseases, central nervous system, internal medicine and vaccines. sanofi-aventis is listed in Paris (EURONEXT: SAN) and in New York (NYSE: SNY ).

Source: sanofi-aventis

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