Body height and risk of venous thromboembolism: The Tromsø Study

Am J Epidemiol. 2010 May 15;171(10):1109-15. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwq066. Epub 2010 Apr 23.


An association between body height and venous thromboembolism (VTE) has been suggested by previous studies including males only. The aim of this prospective cohort study was to investigate the sex-specific impact of body height on risk of VTE in a general population. Risk factors, including body height and weight, were registered for 26,727 subjects aged 25-96 years who participated in the Tromsø Study (Norway) in 1994-1995. Incident VTE events were registered through September 1, 2007. There were 462 VTE events during a median 12.5 years of follow-up. Body height was a risk factor for VTE in men, but not in women. Multivariable hazard ratios per 10 cm, adjusted for age, body mass index, diabetes, smoking, and hormone therapy (women), were 1.34 (95% confidence interval: 1.09, 1.64) for men and 1.13 (95% confidence interval: 0.91, 1.40) for women. Hazard ratios by quartiles of body height revealed that men in the upper quartile (>181 cm) had a 1.99-fold (95% confidence interval: 1.35, 2.92) increased risk of VTE compared with men in the lowest quartile (<173 cm) (P for trend across quartiles = 0.002). There was no significant trend (P = 0.2) across quartiles of body height for women. Study findings revealed that body height is a sex-specific risk factor for VTE in men.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Body Height*
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Poisson Distribution
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Registries
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Venous Thromboembolism / epidemiology*
  • Venous Thromboembolism / etiology