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Covidien's VTE Education Campaign

Covidien plc (COV), a global leader in medical devices and services, announced the launch of its educational campaign for women, named ‘1 in 1,000.’ The objective of ‘1 in 1,000’ is to increase awareness regarding pregnancy-related blood clots. This was announced at the recently concluded 2012 annual meeting of the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (:AWHONN).

‘1 in 1,000’ refers to the probability of experiencing a potentially fatal blood clot during pregnancy, delivery or postpartum. Such a blood clot or venous thromboembolism (:VTE) as it is called in medical terminology, refers to the process of the formation of the blood clot and its movement in the veins. VTE is the collective term for deep vein thrombosis (:DVT) and pulmonary embolism (:PE).

As per research, the risk of developing a potentially life threatening VTE is four to five times greater in pregnant women relative to non-pregnant women. The likelihood of VTE onset increases during delivery and the postpartum period.

The anatomical and physiological changes are responsible for the increased risk, while a Cesarean delivery (C-section) almost doubles that risk. Individual or family history of clotting disorders, hypertension during pregnancy, age greater than 35, smoking, race and obesity are other risk factors contributing to VTE.

It is noteworthy that venous thromboembolism is one of the most common causes of maternal mortality in developed countries. Management asserts that the purpose of the educational campaign is to prevent the onset of VTE by enhancing communication channels between healthcare providers and patients. Increased awareness about the severity and frequency of VTE, ongoing patient assessment and preventative intervention might help in reducing the probability of VTE and thereby save lives.

Experts believe that the higher risk of VTE during pregnancy and peripartum period calls for consideration and preventative intervention. The ‘1 in 1,000’ campaign has been designed after deliberate thought and consultation with leading women’s health experts. It plans to empower healthcare professionals to take appropriate action on occurrence of VTE.

The educational campaign includes guidelines and materials to educate pregnant women on the incidence as well as risk assessment of VTE. It encompasses prevention protocols at hospitals and healthcare systems.

Covidien is an international medical technology major with a history of developing high-quality products in a cost-effective manner. It competes with Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Becton Dickinson (BDX) and C.R. Bard (BCR), among others.

However, sustained pricing/procedure volume pressure represents a headwind. The stock currently retains a Zacks #3 Rank, which translates into a short-term Hold rating. This is in agreement with our long-term Neutral recommendation.

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