Economic burden of venous thromboembolism: a systematic review

J Med Econ. 2011;14(1):65-74. doi: 10.3111/13696998.2010.546465. Epub 2011 Jan 12.


Objective: Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism - together referred to as venous thromboembolism (VTE) - result in a major burden on healthcare systems. However, to the authors' knowledge no comprehensive review of the economic burden of VTE has so far been published.

Methods: A literature search was carried out to identify references published in English since 1997 using Medline, the Cochrane Library and the Health Economic Evaluations Database. The primary outcomes of interest were 'all-cause' VTE and VTE after major orthopedic surgery.

Results: A total of 1,037 full research articles and abstracts were screened for inclusion in the review. Of these, ten cost-of-illness studies were identified that met the inclusion criteria and are included in the current review. The results of large US database analyses vary, indicating costs of the initial VTE of approximately US$3,000-9,500. The total costs related to VTE over 3 months (US$5,000), 6 months (US$10,000) and 1 year (US$33,000) were considerable. Studies conducted in the European Union indicate lower additional inpatient costs after VTE of €1,800 after 3 months and €3,200 after 1 year, which still represent a considerable impact on healthcare systems. Complications after VTE can be very expensive, with estimates of the additional cost of treating the post-thrombotic syndrome ranging from $426 to $11,700 and heparin-induced thrombocytopenia from $3,118 to $41,133. A limitation of studies using older data is that recent changes in the treatment of VTE may affect the generalizability of these findings.

Conclusions: Complications associated with VTE are frequent and costly. In particular, the cost of complications resulting from prophylaxis and treatment of VTE, such as post-thrombotic syndrome and heparin-induced thrombocytopenia, had a considerable economic impact.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cost of Illness*
  • European Union
  • Humans
  • United States
  • Venous Thromboembolism / economics*