Following up on my last piece on the government's spinning of the thromboembolism death statistics, it turns out that less than three thousand people die as a result of venous thromboembolism per year, this is according to the 2008 statistics.
The Department of Health and NICE both reference the Health Select Committee on this 25,000 figure. Strangely the Health Select Committee was presented evidence back in 2004/5 by a surgeon by the name of Linda de Cossart.
Linda De Cossart’s evidence talked of an incidence of pulmonary embolism (PE) of approximately 23 per 100,000 per year with an associated mortality of 12%. If one assumes that our population characteristics are similar to the US’ then this would make the number of fatal PEs in the UK only approximately 1600 per year. Apparently the US have the best data, so this would be a reasonable ball park figure.
Either way it seems that the evidence has been misinterpreted or spun by politicians. It appears that a la David Nutt saga the politicians are ignoring the science in determining policy. The real number of deaths secondary to venous thromboembolism appear to be around three thousand per year in the UK, so the talk of 25,000 is hogwash, the talk of 25,000 being 'preventable' is beneath hogwash.