Anticoagulant therapy is taking an increasingly important role in the effective treatment of vascular disease, according to Dr Pham Nguyen Vinh, medical director of Tam Duc Heart Hospital in HCM City.
A doctor at Khanh Hoa Province's General Hospital uses digital subtraction angiography, an advanced technology to examine patients with cardiovascular problems. The number of patients with strokes and vascular diseases has been increasing at an alarming level in Viet Nam. — VNA/VNS Photo Huu Oai
HCM CITY —
Speaking at a press meeting yesterday, Vinh noted that the therapy had become popular in the treatment of occlusive vascular diseases, which have increased in number in recent years in Viet Nam.
Therapeutic use of anticoagulants discourages formation of blood clots within a blood vessel.
This therapy has been used for mechanical heart valve replacement, atrial fibrillation, cardiac arrhythmia, and pulmonary embolism.
Patients with a mechanical heart valve replacement are forced to use anticoagulants for the rest of their life in order to prevent blood clots on the surface of valves, he said.
Seventy-five per cent of patients who received heart valve replacement surgery develop valve thrombosis if they do not use enough anticoagulants after surgery.
The anticoagulant therapy has also been used in the prevention of strokes in patients with acute myocardial infarction, he added.
Vascular diseases and strokes are major causes of death, Vinh said, adding that WHO figures show more than 17 million fatalities globally occur each year due to these diseases.
In Viet Nam, the number of patients with strokes and vascular diseases has been increasing at an alarming level.
At Tam Duc Heart Hospital alone, the hospital has performed heart-valve replacement surgery on nearly 1,000 patients since 2006.
Viet Nam has around 200,000 people who are diagnosed with stroke each year.
Globally, 15 million people die due to stroke each year, including 5 million fatalities and 5 million who have disabilities, Vinh said.
Atrial fibrillation is one of the causes of stroke, in addition to blood clots that prevent blood flow to the brain, he added.
"If patients use anticoagulant therapy, they can prevent stroke in a timely fashion," he said.
The therapy does have side effect and patients must be carefully monitored. Bleeding or a cerebral hemorrhage could occur.
He said that it was important to establish an anticoagulant therapy clinic that provides couselling, including information on proper diet.
Currently, Viet Nam has just one clinic, which is located at his hospital, Vinh said.
Dr Huynh Thanh Kieu, Vinh's colleague, said that figures from anticoagulant therapy clinics in the US and other countries showed that monitoring helped reduce 59 per cent of complications caused by the therapy.
Therapy monitoring also saves on treatment time and costs and improves the life of patients, Kieu said. — VNS