Obesity, poor muscle strength, and venous thromboembolism in older persons: the InCHIANTI study

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2011 Mar;66(3):320-5. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glq207. Epub 2010 Nov 26.


Background: Both obesity and the decline in muscle strength, which often occur with aging, are accompanied by functional and metabolic changes that may affect the risk of thrombosis. This study evaluated whether obesity and poor muscle strength are associated with venous thromboembolism (VTE).

Methods: Objectively confirmed VTEs were assessed at baseline and more than a 6-year follow-up in 1,045 participants more than or equal to 60 years enrolled in the InCHIANTI study.

Results: At baseline, 97 participants had a positive history of VTE. Obese participants were almost twice more likely (odds ratio 1.76; 95% confidence interval 1.03-3.01) and obese with poor muscle strength were threefold more likely (odds ratio 2.99; 95% confidence interval 1.56-5.73) to have VTE compared with lean participants with normal strength. Fifty-five VTEs occurred during follow-up. History of VTE, obesity, and/or poor strength independently predicted new VTE events. In participants with previous VTE, the odds ratio (95% confidence interval) for thrombosis was 6.64 (1.92-22.95) with poor strength, 9.69 (3.13-30.01) in the obese, and 14.57 (5.16-41.15) in the obese with poor strength as compared with lean participants with normal strength.

Conclusion: Obesity with or without poor muscle strength is a risk factor for VTE among older persons and significantly amplifies the risk of recurrent thrombosis.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Prevalence
  • Registries
  • Risk Factors
  • Venous Thrombosis / epidemiology*
  • Venous Thrombosis / etiology*