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Diagnosing Deadly Blood Clots

They kill more people than breast cancer, AIDS, and traffic crashes combined.

More people die from preventable blood clots than from breast cancer, AIDS, and traffic accidents combined.  About 900,000 people get them every year in the US. Researchers are now taking new measures to evaluate your risk of developing potentially deadly blood clots.

The Flecks love Disney, but this isn't a vacation. They're in a waiting area of the hospital where Jason experienced some of his darkest days. It's where he was treated for potentially deadly blood clotting and cancer. "I also had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma as well. One of the nurses had said to me, had I not come in when I did, I may not have made it another day," Jason Flecks said.

Jason stumbled onto the bad news when he fell off a trampoline at a kid's birthday party. "I went to see an orthopedic doctor who said there's nothing wrong with your leg, but you may have blood clotting," said Flecks.

"It's the number one reason why you might die in a hospital," Florida Hospital Doctor John Francis said. And not even know you were in danger. Researchers are working on a new test to solve that mystery. It offers a full picture of how your blood cells and proteins work together to form a clot.

"We're measuring the production in the blood of an enzyme called Thrombin. It's really the key-too little, you bleed, too much, you clot," explained Doctor Francis.

The goal is to eliminate preventable complications, so at-risk patients like Jason can plan family vacations for years to come.

Jason didn't know he had the genetic blood clotting disorder until the trampoline accident. So far, knock on wood, his cancer is in remission.

Researchers are hoping to launch clinical trials for the blood clotting diagnostic test by 2014.


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