Thrombosis

Thrombosis is a condition caused by the formation of a clot that prevents blood from flowing normally through the body. Depending on the location and extent of the blood clot, thrombosis can be extremely serious and even life-threatening.

Thrombosis at Aspen Europe

At Aspen we are committed to making high quality, effective and affordable medicine accessible to everyone. In Europe, Aspen is specialized in the production of medicines known as anticoagulants (these medicines are also sometimes described as antithrombotics).

Anticoagulants are a category of medicines intended to prevent the process of blood clotting and/or encourage existing blood clots to break down and dissolve. They are designed to help prevent and/or treat two distinct types of thrombotic disease: arterial thrombosis and venous thrombosis.

Arterial Thrombosis

Arterial thrombosis is the formation of a blood clot within an artery. Generally, arterial thrombosis can affect any organ of the body. Most commonly, it can cause a stroke (a rapid decline of brain function due to a disturbance in the supply of blood to the brain), a heart attack (the obstruction of a coronary artery known as ‘myocardial infarction’) or an arterial blockage in the limbs.

Coronary artery disease is the single most common cause of death in Europe, accounting for 1.8 million deaths each year; it causes one in five of all deaths (22% of women 20% of men). Stroke by itself is the second single most common cause of death in Europe: accounting for almost 1.1 million deaths in Europe each year. Around one in every twelve men (8%) and one in ten women (11%) die from the disease.[1]

When arterial thrombosis occurs, anticoagulant (or antithrombotic) medicines are administered to prevent further clot growth and to dissolve existing clots blocking the coronary arteries. In most cases, anticoagulants will be given alongside other medicines and interventions (including surgery where appropriate).

Venous Thrombosis

Venous thrombosis is the formation of a blot clot within a vein. The most common manifestations of venous thrombotic disease are superficial-vein thrombosis (SVT), deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE), collectively known as venous thromboembolic events (VTEs).

The exact number of people affected each year by VTE is difficult to determine, however, reliable estimates have been obtained from epidemiological studies that suggest the annual incidence of VTE is about 1 per 1,000 of the population.[2] VTE is estimated to be the third-most common cardiovascular disorder (after coronary heart disease and stroke). In the European Union alone, more than 540,000 patients are estimated to be killed each year by VTE, which is double the number of Europeans killed by breast cancer, prostate cancer, HIV/AIDS and road traffic accidents combined.[3]

Superficial venous thrombosis (SVT) is a blood clot in a superficial vein of the upper or lower extremities. SVT has widely been estimated to be an uncomfortable but benign disease, although several studies have shown that 5-10% of patients may develop a severe progression of the disease in the first three months if they are not adequately treated.[4]

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot in a deep vein of an extremity or the pelvis. It most commonly occurs in the lower extremities such as the major vein of the leg (usually the calf or thigh). A DVT restricts the return of de-oxygenated blood to the heart.

Although SVT and DVT are uncomfortable, the main concern is with their potential complications, which include the risk of a pulmonary embolism.

Pulmonary embolism (PE) occurs when a clot becomes detached from a DVT in the vein wall and travels with the blood through the right side of the heart and into the pulmonary artery. The clot lodges within the pulmonary artery where it may cause a partial or complete blockage. The consequences of PE vary depending on the size and location of the clot. However, PE is an extremely dangerous condition, which can be potentially fatal.

Anticoagulation has become the primary treatment for many forms of VTE in Europe, including SVT, DVT and PE. All patients with DVT are given anticoagulants in order to prevent further clotting and stimulate clot dissolution. The increased risks to health associated with PE may justify more aggressive treatment, including surgery and intensive anticoagulant therapy within a hospital.

[1] https://www.bhf.org.uk/~/media/files/research/heart-statistics/european-cardiovascular-disease-statistics-2012.pdf
[2] Glynn R.J. et al. Ann Intern Med 2007; 147:525-33; Amin A, Stemkowski S, et al. J Thromb Haemost. 2007; 5:1610-6.
[3] Cohen AT, et al. Thromb Haemost. 2007;98:756-64
[4] Bauersachs R.M., Hämostaseologie 2013; 33:2