Introduction: The association of metabolic syndrome with venous thromboembolism (VTE) remains uncertain. Moreover, the relevance of abdominal obesity as an independent or related risk factor for VTE in the metabolic syndrome cluster is controversial. We aimed to evaluate the impact of metabolic syndrome and its individual components on VTE risk.
Methods: We conducted a case-control study to investigate the presence of metaoblic syndrome in 150 healthy individuals (43 ± 13 years) and 146 patients with a first objectively confirmed episode of deep venous thrombosis or pulmonary embolism (44 ± 13 years) who underwent a thrombophilia work up.
Results: Metabolic syndrome was present in 19% of cases and 8% of controls (P = 0.008). In the unadjusted analysis, metabolic syndrome was statistically associated with higher VTE risk [odds ratio (OR) = 2.7, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.3-5.6]. However, hypertriglyceridemia (OR = 2.0, 95% CI 1.1-3.5), high glucose levels (OR = 2.0, 95% CI 1.2-3.5), and abdominal obesity (OR = 5.7, 95% CI 3.4-9.6) were also significantly associated with higher VTE risk. Abdominal obesity was the factor that had the highest OR. Moreover, after multivariate analysis in which each independent factor was adjusted for the others, only abdominal obesity remained statistically associated with higher VTE risk, revealing its relevance. Further adjustment for the presence of thrombophilia did not change the estimation.
Conclusion: We conclude that, in subjects with a mean age of 44 years, metabolic syndrome increases VTE risk, although abdominal obesity is the pivotal factor.