Background: After a first unprovoked venous thromboembolism (VTE), many patients have residual pulmonary and/or lower limb vascular obstruction following completion of short-term anticoagulation. Residual vascular obstruction may complicate the diagnosis of recurrent VTE. Whether baseline imaging, conducted after completion of anticoagulation, helps in interpreting diagnostic testing in patients who subsequently have suspected recurrent VTE is unknown.
Study design: The REVERSE study is a cohort study whose primary aim was to derive a clinical decision rule to guide the duration of anticoagulation after a first unprovoked VTE. All patients underwent baseline imaging after completing 5-7 months of anticoagulant therapy. We performed a post hoc randomized controlled comparison among 121 patients investigated for a suspected recurrent VTE during follow-up: the decision on recurrent VTE with or without baseline imaging was made available to two independent adjudicators.
Results: The proportion of patients not classifiable for recurrent VTE was statistically significantly higher in the group with no baseline imaging than in the group with baseline imaging: one in five as compared with one in 25. The interobserver agreement between the two adjudicators was better in the group with baseline imaging than in the group with no baseline imaging: κ-values were 0.78 and 0.54, respectively.
Conclusions: In patients with a first unprovoked VTE, baseline imaging at completion of anticoagulant therapy helps in interpreting diagnostic tests performed in cases of suspected recurrent VTE.
© 2011 International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis.