Incidence of venous thromboembolism in Korea: from the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service database

J Thromb Haemost. 2011 Jan;9(1):85-91. doi: 10.1111/j.1538-7836.2010.04108.x.


Background: Venous thromboembolism (VTE), including deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE), represents a major health concern in Caucasians. Although the incidence of VTE is generally known to be lower in Asians than in Caucasians, results of epidemiologic studies among Asians have been conflicting. In this study we performed a nationwide population-based epidemiologic study to provide basic information regarding the incidence of VTE in the Korean population.

Methods: Using the Korean Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service (HIRA) database, VTE patients from 2004 to 2008 were retrospectively identified by both diagnostic codes and medication codes for drugs used in initial treatment of VTE.

Results: The respective age- and sex-adjusted annual incidences of VTE, DVT and PE per 100,000 individuals increased significantly from 8.83, 3.91 and 3.74 in 2004 to 13.8, 5.31 and 7.01 in 2008 (P = 0.0001), with successive increments each year. All three annual incidences also increased steadily with age (P = 0.0001 for all), particularly among those over 60 years old.

Conclusions: This represents the largest epidemiologic study that demonstrates a lower incidence of VTE in Asian compared with Western populations; however, it also demonstrates a yearly increasing incidence of VTE in the Korean population.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Asian People / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Databases as Topic
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • National Health Programs
  • Republic of Korea / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Sex Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Venous Thromboembolism / ethnology*
  • Young Adult