Venous thromboembolism epidemiology: Implications for prevention and management

John A. Heit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

144 Scopus citations


Venous thromboembolism is a major health problem, with an incidence that exceeds 1 per 1000. Over 200,000 new cases occur in the United States annually. Of these, 30% of patients die within 30 days; one-fifth suffer sudden death due to pulmonary embolism. Despite improved prophylaxis, the incidence of venous thromboembolism has not changed significantly since 1980. Independent risk factors for venous thromboembolism include increasing age, male gender, surgery, trauma, hospital or nursing home confinement, malignancy, neurologic disease with extremity paresis, central venous catheter/transvenous pacemaker, prior superficial vein thrombosis, and varicose veins; among women, the risk factors include pregnancy, oral contraceptives, and hormone replacement therapy. About 30% of surviving patients develop recurrent venous thromboembolism within 10 years. Independent predictors for recurrence include increasing age, obesity, malignant neoplasm, and extremity paresis. About 28% of patients develop venous stasis syndrome within 20 years. To reduce venous thromboembolism incidence, improve survival, and prevent recurrence and complications, patients with these characteristics should receive appropriate prophylaxis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-13
Number of pages11
JournalSeminars in Thrombosis and Hemostasis
Issue numberSUPPL. 2
StatePublished - 2002


  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Epidemiology
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Venous thromboembolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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