Risk of future arterial cardiovascular events in patients with idiopathic venous thromboembolism.

David Green*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Venous and arterial thromboses have traditionally been considered distinct pathophysiologic entities. However, the two disorders have many features in common, and there is evidence that persons with venous thrombosis may be at greater risk for arterial events. The pathogenesis of both disorders includes endothelial injury, platelet activation, elevated levels of intrinsic clotting factors and inflammatory markers, increased fibrinogen, and impaired fibrinolysis. In addition, older age, obesity, dyslipidemia, and smoking predispose to both venous and arterial thrombosis. While the evidence that arterial disease is a risk factor for venous thrombosis is inconclusive, arterial disease does appear to occur with a modestly increased frequency in patients with a history of venous thromboembolism. Reported odds ratios in such patients were 1.2 for myocardial infarction, 1.3 for stroke, 2.3 for carotid plaque, and 4.3 for coronary calcification. Of note, in persons under age 40 with unprovoked venous thrombosis, the odds ratio for acute myocardial infarction was as high as 3.9. In general, however, venous disease is considered to be a weak risk factor for arterial thrombosis, and the use of agents specifically targeted to the prevention of heart attack or stroke in the majority of persons with VTE cannot be recommended at present.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology

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