Michigan State University main website

MSU Researchers Receive Grant to Study Blood Clots

two legs, one swollen

Two Michigan State Univeristy researchers in the Department of Osteopathic Medical Specialties have received a nearly $40,000 grant from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation to assess how often patients with blood clots are treated at home instead of the hospital.

paul-stein thumb

Paul Stein

Paul D. Stein, a professor of osteopathic medical specialities in MSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, and Fadi Matta, an associate professor within the same department, will be leading the study.

Deep venous thrombosis, or blood clots in the veins, is a common but dangerous disorder usually occuring in the legs. Clots can break loose and pass through the circulatory system to arteries in the lungs as a pulmonary embolism, lodging and causing shortness of breath or perhaps death. It requires immediate medical treatment.

“Home treatment of deep venous thrombosis offers the opportunity to dramatically reduce the cost and improve the quality of life without compromising outcome,” Stein said. “We want to determine the proportion of patients who are treated at home and what factors cause physicians to be hesitant to treat people there.”

He noted that these factors might include age, associated illnesses, ability to care for oneself and need for intramuscular or intravenous medications, in addition to blood thinners.

“Home treatment requires well-maintained living conditions, strong support from family or friends, telephone access and the ability to quickly return to the hospital if there is deterioration,” Stein said. “But you don’t have to be a great economist to know it’s cheaper to treat at home and most patients would prefer it, if it’s safe.”

Stein noted also that new oral medications for this health issue can replace those that need to be injected, making home care even more feasible. However, such medicationshave disadvantages as well as advantages, so physicians need to assess the risks and the benefits.

Using data obtained from the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample, which is part of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, both researchers will analyze the most recent five years of data available from 2007 to 2011. The database each year includes around 29 million emergency department visits from more than 900 hospitals in up to 29 states.

“It’s our hope that this data will allow us to identify factors that determined whether patients were treated at home or in the hospital,” Stein said. “Hopefully, physicians will become more confident in recommending home treatment to those who would benefit and be considered safe.”

– Laura Probyn , Sarina Gleason via MSU Today

– Photo: A deep vein thrombosis of the right leg. Note the swelling and redness; James Heilman, MD

Comments are closed.