As arterial and venous thrombosis share common risk factors, a link between arterial and venous thrombosis has been suggested recently. Therefore, we aimed to investigate the impact of established cardiovascular risk factors on the risk of recurrent venous thromboembolism (VTE). With a cross-sectional study design, we analyzed the data of 1006 patients (582 F, 424 M) consecutively treated in our outpatient department for VTE (i.e. lower extremity deep vein thrombosis and/or pulmonary embolism) and registered in the MAISTHRO (MAin-ISar-THROmbosis) database. Of the total cohort, 324 (32.2%) patients suffered a recurrent VTE. Compared with the patients with a single thromboembolic event, patients with recurrent VTE were more frequently male (39.4 vs. 27.0%, P < 0.001). In univariate analysis, the relative risk of recurrent VTE was 1.9 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.53-2.39] for male sex and 1.6 (1.25-1.95) for age over 50 years (PAOD). After adjustments for age, sex, thrombophilia and other common VTE risk factors, male sex [hazard ratio (HR) = 1.7 (1.38-21.9)] and arterial hypertension [HR = 1.4 (1.05-1.78)] were independent risk factors of recurrent VTE. The higher risk in men than in women persisted even after the exclusion of women with transient hormonal risk factors [HR = 1.57 (1.19-2.07)]. In contrast, no association between the presence of diabetes, obesity, hypercholesterolemia or smoking and the risk of VTE recurrence was observed. Male sex and arterial hypertension are independently associated with an increased risk of recurrent VTE after termination of anticoagulant therapy for the first VTE event.