QThrombosis to help tackle leading cause of UK deaths

17 Aug 2011

Researchers have developed a new risk score to identify individuals at risk of developing thrombosis, one of the leading causes of death in the UK.

QThrombosis uses a simple algorithm to identify individuals at high risk of developing serious blood clots (known as venous thromboembolism) who might need preventative treatment.

Developed using data from the QResearch database, a joint not for profit project run by the University of Nottingham and leading healthcare IT provider EMIS, the clinical tool is a potential live-saver – over 25,000 people in England die from thrombosis each year.

Qthrombosis works by calculating a risk score based on simple information that would be known by the patient or that could be collected during a routine GP or hospital consultation. The results can be used to help clinicians quickly and easily identify those patients most at risk who may benefit from further treatments or testing.

A study on the development of QThrombosis, published on http://www.bmj.com, analysed data from over 3.5million patient records. It revealed that the risk of venous thromboembolism in both men and women increased with age, increased body mass index and quantity of cigarettes smoked each day.

The risk was also higher among those with varicose veins, congestive heart failure, chronic kidney disease, chronic lung disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and cancer.

Julia Hippisley-Cox, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology and General Practice at Nottingham University and director of QResearch, said: “We developed this new tool to help identify patients at risk of thrombosis in every day clinical practice. It has been designed so it can be integrated into NHS computer systems and used to assess risk of thrombosis for patients on admission to hospital or before starting medication which might increase their risk. Further research is needed to assess how best to use the algorithm and whether, upon implementation, it has any impact on health outcomes.”

The QThrombosis risk assessment tool is available online for patients to use by answering a series of simple questions on their medical health. Alternatively open and closed software which implements QThrombosis is available for use with NHS clinical computer systems via ClinRisk Ltd.