As part of move to combat the growing incidence of death due to venous thromboembolism (VTE) in Nigeria, multinational pharmaceutical company, Sanofi, has organised a scientific conference aimed at bringing Nigerian healthcare practitioners up to date with the management of the condition.
Speaking at the conference in Lagos recently, the General Manager and Country Chair, Sanofi Nigeria-Ghana, Pharm. Folake Odediran said engagement with stakeholders was to identify gaps in VTE management and how to overcome the challenges.
The conference, which held simultaneously in six centres and beamed digitally from Lagos to medical practitioners in Ibadan, Abuja, Benin, Enugu and Kano, also served as a platform for the launch of Clexane, the company’s new drug for the management of VTE.
Odediran said: “We are providing value by focusing on driving VTE awareness, capacity building for healthcare practitioners, partnerships with health care associations and providing innovative treatment and prophylaxis options.
“The deadly nature of thrombosis is an important and growing health issues not only in Nigeria but globally. Worldwide, one in four people die from causes related to thrombosis; it claims more lives than AIDS, breast and prostate cancer, as well as motor vehicle crashes combined. The main concern is that many people are not aware of this condition.”
“VTE also has its socio-economic burden, as patients would need to spend more days in the hospital, resulting in extra treatment costs and reduction in hospital bed space available for other patients,” she added.
In her keynote presentation titled “Overview of VTE Disease Burden in Nigeria: How Hospitals Can Reduce The Risks”, a Professor of Haematology at the School of Medicine, University of Benin, Prof. Omolade Augustina Awodu drew attention to the importance of VTE as a medical condition worthy of attention.
According to her, raising awareness on the condition was important because of its high rate of morbidity and mortality, adding that the condition sometimes occur without symptoms, unrecognised, misdiagnosed and untreated or under-treated.
“Annually, 1.5 million VTE events occur in the European Union and 900 000 in the United States. More than 500,000 deaths per year are due to complications related to VTE. Many of these are sudden and from undetected disease. Some of these events and deaths could be prevented given the availability of effective VTE prophylaxis, she said.
She disclosed that acutely ill medical patients especially, surgical cases, are the most vulnerable to VTE.
“The risk of VTE is increased by obesity, malignancy, history of VTE, immobility and hereditary or predisposition to developing thrombosis. This risk is also affected by the nature and duration of the operation, type of anesthesia, dehydration, sepsis, varicose veins and hormone therapy,” she further disclosed.
Awodu advised on the need for VTE risk assessment policy for all hospitalised patients in our hospitals so that people at risk could get appropriate prophylaxis since hospitalisation is linked to about 60 per cent of Venous thromboembolism cases.
In another presentation, a cardiologist at the Bayero University Kano and Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano State, Prof. Mahmoud Sani stressed the need for patients on admission to undergo risk assessment for VTE to prevent sudden death.
“The risk of DVT in medically hospitalized patients without anticoagulation is about 10-20 per cent,” he said, adding that “all hospitalized patients should have a risk assessment for VTE and bleeding risk upon admission.
“Risk should be documented and discussed with the patient and thromboprophylaxis offered. Patients on admission should be reassessed 24 hours after admission and every time the clinical situation changes,” Sani recommended.