Epidemiology of venous thromboembolism in a Chinese population

Br J Surg. 2004 Apr;91(4):424-8. doi: 10.1002/bjs.4454.


Background: Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is uncommon in Asians and routine thromboprophylaxis for surgery is controversial. Despite recent reports of higher incidences in some Asian countries, population-based data are lacking.

Methods: Information from 2000 to 2001 was retrieved from a centralized computer public healthcare database serving an ethnic Chinese population of 6.7 million. The incidence, demographics and hospital mortality rates of DVT and pulmonary embolism (PE) were obtained, and analysed for different surgical categories.

Results: The overall annual incidences of DVT and PE were 17.1 and 3.9 per 100000 population respectively. Venous thromboembolic disease was more common with increasing age in both sexes. The annual age-specific incidences of DVT and PE were 81.1 and 18.6 per 100000 for those aged 65 years and over. Hospital mortality rates associated with DVT and PE were 7.3 and 23.8 per cent respectively. Among 120940 surgical operations a year, the mean incidence of postoperative DVT and PE was only 0.13 and 0.04 per cent respectively. No high-risk surgical group was identified.

Conclusion: Venous thromboembolism is not as common in Chinese as in Caucasians, but it is certainly not rare. The majority of DVTs and PEs, however, were not associated with surgery, so routine thromboprophylaxis may not be required.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • China / ethnology
  • Female
  • Hong Kong / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Thromboembolism / epidemiology
  • Venous Thrombosis / epidemiology*
  • Venous Thrombosis / ethnology
  • Venous Thrombosis / surgery