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Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolus Estimates are Substantially Higher than Previously Thought

Henry I. Bussey, Pharm.D., FCCP, FAHA
February, 2007

Established investigators, on behalf of the VTE Impact Assessment Group, reported that almost 1 million instances of venous thromboembolism (VTE) occur annually in the United States. VTE includes deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolus (PE or blood clot in the lung). The almost one million initial and recurrent VTE events are estimated to cause almost 300,000 deaths annually. It was further calculated that about two-thirds of all events develop in hospitalized patients while one-third develop in community based patients. Of the almost 300,000 patients who die from VTE each year, the authors estimate that only about 7% (21,223) are diagnosed with VTE and treated, 34% (101,032) die suddenly from a fatal PE, and 59% (174,115) have undetected PE. The authors call for further studies to examine the impact of universal VTE prophylaxis especially in hospitalized patients.

These data were presented in abstract form at the 2005 American Society of Hematology meeting and are provided in the table below. The publication of the manuscript is pending (as of February 22, 2007). These calculations were based on the US 2000 census data, published rates of VTE in various conditions and rates of prophylaxis, and ICD-9 codes for discharge diagnoses from the Healthcare Utilization and Cost Database which includes major discharge diagnoses from all US acute-care hospitals.

Event Community (fatal*) Hospt. (fatal*) Total (fatal*)
DVT 108,889 (649) 269,734 (1,609) 378,623 (2,258)
PE 191,260 (105,902) 339,910 (188,210) 531 (294,112)
Combined 300,149 (106,551) 609,644 (189,819) 909,793 (296,370)

*fatal events are included in the number of events listed

Reference: Heit JA, Cohen AT, Anderson, FA Jr. Blood; 2005:106 (no.11) part 1 of 2, pg. 267a (abstract #910).

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Monday, July 24, 2017