Venous thrombosis is a common disease that frequently recurs. Recurrence can be prevented by anticoagulants, albeit at the cost of bleeding. Thus, assessment of the risk of recurrence is important to balance the risks and benefits of anticoagulation treatment. Many clinical and laboratory risk factors for recurrent venous thrombosis have been established. Nevertheless, prediction of recurrence in an individual patient remains a challenge. Detection of some laboratory markers is associated with only a moderate risk of recurrence, and the relevance of others is not known. Many patients have several risk factors and the effect of combined defects is obscure. Routine screening for these laboratory markers should therefore be abandoned. Risk assessment can be improved by measurement of global markers that encompass the effects of clotting and fibrinolytic disorders. Analysis of preliminary data suggests that risk assessment can also be refined through integration of prothrombotic coagulation changes and clinical risk factors.
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