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Treatment and Secondary Prophylaxis of Venous Thromboembolism: Is it Time to Say Goodbye to Vitamin K Antagonists, and Perhaps to Heparin as well?

Cecilia Becattini, MD, Giorgia Manina, MD, and Giancarlo Agnelli, MD

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) are the two clinical manifestations of venous thromboembolism (VTE). The treatment of these two conditions is similar, except for selected patients, and can be divided into three phases: an acute phase, a long-term phase, and an extended phase. Each of these phases has a specific goal. Indeed, untreated VTE may result in death in up to 30% of patients with the disorder during their hospital stay [1]. Thus, the main goal of acute phase treatment is reducing short-term mortality.

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