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Venous Thromboembolism: The Magnitude of the Problem in Europe and the World


Alexander T Cohen, Mark Dobromirski, Shu-Ling Lin, and Jack O Wills

Venous thromboembolism (VTE), clinically presenting as deep venous thrombosis or pulmonary embolism (PE), remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Cohort studies have reported VTE incidence rates of approximately 100–200 cases per 100 000 patient-years. VTE is most likely to occur in the elderly, after surgery or trauma, in those with genetic predisposition, and in those with acute medical illness. PE causing death is found in approximately 10% of post mortem examinations, and the majority (60–75%) of these cases were not diagnosed prior to death, suggesting marked under-recognition. VTE events result in a significant health burden, necessitating prolonged anticoagulation therapy and conveying a substantial risk of post-thrombotic syndrome, chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension, and VTE recurrence. Mortality rates in the year after a VTE event reach 20–25%. Adv Venous Arterial Thromb 2011;1(2):39–45.

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