Deep Vein Thrombosis

Lancet. 2005 Mar 26-Apr 1;365(9465):1163-74. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(05)71880-8.


Deep vein thrombosis and its sequelae pulmonary embolism and post-thrombotic syndrome are some of the most common disorders. A thrombus either arises spontaneously or is caused by clinical conditions including surgery, trauma, or prolonged bed rest. In these instances, prophylaxis with low-dose anticoagulation is effective. Diagnosis of deep vein thrombosis relies on imaging techniques such as ultrasonography or venography. Only about 25% of symptomatic patients have a thrombus. Thus, clinical risk assessment and D-dimer measurement are used to rule out deep vein thrombosis. Thrombus progression and embolisation can be prevented by low-molecular-weight heparin followed by vitamin K antagonists. Use of these antagonists for 3-6 months is sufficient for many patients. Those with antithrombin deficiency, the lupus anticoagulant, homozygous or combined defects, or with previous deep vein thrombosis can benefit from indefinite anticoagulation. In cancer patients, low-molecular-weight heparin is more effective than and is at least as safe as vitamin K antagonists. Women seem to have a lower thrombosis risk than men, but pregnancy or use of oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy represent important risk factors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Venous Thrombosis* / diagnosis
  • Venous Thrombosis* / etiology
  • Venous Thrombosis* / prevention & control
  • Venous Thrombosis* / therapy