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DVT is Deadly, but Preventable

DVT is Deadly, but Preventable

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Dr. Kim Mulvihill ReportingIt's hard to believe it's been two years since NBC correspondent David Bloom died in Iraq. Bloom died of a condition called deep-vein thrombosis -- that's a blood clot usually found in a patient's leg. What's so sad is this is a condition that can be prevented.

Pulmonary embolism causes more deaths each year than breast cancer and AIDS combined, but it is preventable. People need to know if they're at risk. NBC News Correspondent David Bloom died almost two years ago while reporting in Iraq, but it wasn't a bullet or a bomb that killed him.

No one, including David himself, knew that he had deep-vein thrombosis, or DVT. More than two million people suffer from this condition each year, yet a recent study finds that 74% of Americans have never heard of it.

DVT occurs when a blood clot forms in one of the lower veins, often in the legs. If a piece of the clot breaks loose and travels to the lungs, it can result in a life-threatening condition called pulmonary embolism.

Risk factors include obesity, heart or lung disease, cancer, or restricted mobility, such as on a long flight. And if you are at risk, what should you watch for?

Geno Merli, MD, FACP Coalition to Prevent Deep-Vein Thrombosis: "The most common symptoms of deep vein thrombosis are leg swelling, pain in the leg or increased warmth of the leg. And the most common symptom of pulmonary embolism is the sudden onset of shortness of breath."

Now Melanie Bloom, David's widow, is determined to get the word out. Congress passed a bill proclaiming March DVT Awareness Month in honor of David, to help prevent this silent killer from striking more families.

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