Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is an increasingly common complication encountered in tertiary care pediatric settings. The purpose of this review is to summarize the epidemiology, current and emerging pharmacotherapeutic options, and management of this disease. Over 70% of VTE occur in children with chronic diseases. Although they are seen in children of all ages, adolescents are at greatest risk. Pediatric VTE is associated with an increased risk of in-hospital mortality; recurrent VTE and post-thrombotic syndrome are commonly seen in survivors. In recent years, anticoagulation with low molecular weight heparin has emerged as the mainstay of therapy, but compliance is limited by its onerous subcutaneous administration route. New anticoagulants either already approved for use in adults or in the pipeline offer the possibility of improved dose stability and oral routes of administration. Current recommended anticoagulation course durations are derived from very limited case series and cohort data, or extrapolations from adult literature. However, the pathophysiologic underpinnings of pediatric VTE are dissimilar from those seen in adults and are often variable within groups of pediatric patients. Clinical studies and trials in pediatric VTE are underway which will hopefully improve the quality of evidence from which therapeutic guidelines are derived.
Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.