The effects of race/ethnicity and sex on the risk of venous thromboembolism

Curr Opin Pulm Med. 2007 Sep;13(5):377-83. doi: 10.1097/MCP.0b013e3281eb8ef0.


Purpose of the review: Recently, studies on large diverse populations have described important ethnic/racial differences in venous thromboembolism incidence, and sex has been reported as an important predictor of recurrence. We review the influence of race/ethnicity and sex on venous thromboembolism, concentrating on articles from 2005 to 2007.

Recent findings: Most studies found that women have a 40-400% lower risk of recurrent venous thromboembolism than men. Studies of ethnicity/race on risk provide strong evidence that African-American patients are the highest risk group for first-time venous thromboembolism, while Hispanic patients' risk is about half that of Caucasians. African-Americans and Hispanics have a higher risk of recurrence than Caucasians, but sex and the type of index venous thromboembolism event seem to play a role in this risk. Asian/Pacific Islanders have a markedly lower risk of first-time and cancer-associated venous thromboembolism. There is little difference in incidence in African-Americans, Hispanics, and Caucasians diagnosed with cancer. Sex does not seem to be associated with risk in cancer patients.

Summary: Sex and race/ethnicity are important factors in the risk of first-time and recurrent venous thromboembolism and need to be included as risk assessment and diagnostic prediction tools are developed or updated.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • African Americans / ethnology
  • Asian Americans / ethnology
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino / ethnology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Thromboembolism / ethnology*
  • Thromboembolism / etiology
  • Thromboembolism / physiopathology
  • Venous Thrombosis / ethnology*
  • Venous Thrombosis / etiology
  • Venous Thrombosis / physiopathology
  • Whites / ethnology