Background: Thrombosis is the common pathology underlying ischemic heart disease, ischemic stroke, and venous thromboembolism (VTE). The Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 (GBD 2010) documented that ischemic heart disease and stroke collectively caused 1 in 4 deaths worldwide. GBD 2010 did not report data for VTE as a cause of death and disability.
Objective: To review the literature on the global burden of disease caused by VTE.
Approach and results: We performed a systematic review of the literature on the global disease burden because of VTE in low-, middle-, and high-income countries. Studies from Western Europe, North America, Australia, and Southern Latin America (Argentina) yielded consistent results with annual incidences ranging from 0.75 to 2.69 per 1000 individuals in the population. The incidence increased to between 2 and 7 per 1000 among those aged ≥70 years. Although the incidence is lower in individuals of Chinese and Korean ethnicity, their disease burden is not low because of population aging. VTE associated with hospitalization was the leading cause of disability-adjusted life-years lost in low- and middle-income countries, and second in high-income countries, responsible for more disability-adjusted life-years lost than nosocomial pneumonia, catheter-related blood stream infections, and adverse drug events.
Conclusions: VTE causes a major burden of disease across low-, middle-, and high-income countries. More detailed data on the global burden of VTE should be obtained to inform policy and resource allocation in health systems and to evaluate whether improved use of preventive measures will reduce the burden.
Keywords: pulmonary embolism; thrombosis; venous thromboembolism; venous thrombosis.
© 2014 American Heart Association, Inc.