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Public Knowledge of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT): A Street Survey in the Suburbs of Birmingham, UK

Background: Venous thromboembolism (VTE) consists of
deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE),
causing considerable morbidity and mortality. The economic
burden on the NHS of this common preventable condition
is significant. Whilst studies into public knowledge of other
conditions are published, there is no current literature regarding
DVT public knowledge.
Aims: Primary aim: to assess the extent of public
knowledge of DVT. Secondary aim: to assess the influence of
socio-demographic factors upon DVT knowledge.
Methods: A street survey of 385 participants was performed
in two suburbs of Birmingham, UK using an interviewerassisted
open questionnaire.
Results: Participants named a mean of 1.41, 1.18, 0.856
and 1.22 correct symptoms, risk factors, complications and
preventative methods, respectively. 41.5% named flying as
a risk factor. 31.3% named death as a complication of DVT
and 8.88% of participants identified that a blood clot could
travel to the lungs. A higher proportion incorrectly stated it
could travel to the heart (24.0%) or brain (17.4%). 38.5% were
unable to name any DVT complications. Males, those in lower
socio-economic classes, those of Non-White ethnicity and the
over-70s were found to have significantly poorer knowledge.
Knowledge decreased with socio-economic status in a trendlike
Conclusions: Overall, knowledge of DVT was limited.
This study supports the concept of a VTE public awareness
campaign, with particular focus on the complications of DVT
and raising awareness amongst people in the above sociodemographic


Sheila Greenfield

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