Background: Platelet size, measured as mean platelet volume (MPV), is associated with platelet reactivity. MPV is increased in acute myocardial infarction, and has been identified as an independent risk factor for future myocardial infarction and stroke.
Objectives: The purpose of the study was to determine the impact of platelet count and MPV on the incidence of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in a prospective, population-based study.
Methods: Platelet count, MPV and baseline characteristics were registered in 25 923 subjects aged 25-96 years who participated in the Tromsø Study in 1994-1995. Incident VTE events were registered to the end of follow-up (1 September 2007).
Results: There were 445 validated incident VTE events (1.6 per 1000 person-years), of which 186 (42%) were unprovoked, during a mean of 10.8 years of follow-up. Subjects with MPV >or= 9.5 fL had a 1.3-fold [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.0-1.7] higher risk of total VTE and a 1.5-fold (95% CI 1.1-2.3) higher risk of unprovoked VTE than subjects with MPV < 8.5 fL in analyses adjusted for age, sex, smoking, body mass index, and platelet count. Increasing MPV was associated with increased risk of total VTE (P for trend = 0.09) and unprovoked VTE (P for trend = 0.03) in analyses adjusted for age and sex. There was no significant association between increasing platelet count and risk of VTE.
Conclusions: An increasing MPV was identified as a predictor for VTE, in particular VTE of unprovoked origin. The present findings support the concept that platelet reactivity is important in the pathogenesis of VTE.