Thrombosis can affect any venous circulation. Venous thromboembolism (VTE) includes deep-vein thrombosis of the leg or pelvis, and its complication, pulmonary embolism. VTE is a fairly common disease, particularly in older age, and is associated with reduced survival, substantial health-care costs, and a high rate of recurrence. VTE is a complex (multifactorial) disease, involving interactions between acquired or inherited predispositions to thrombosis and various risk factors. Major risk factors for incident VTE include hospitalization for surgery or acute illness, active cancer, neurological disease with leg paresis, nursing-home confinement, trauma or fracture, superficial vein thrombosis, and-in women-pregnancy and puerperium, oral contraception, and hormone therapy. Although independent risk factors for incident VTE and predictors of VTE recurrence have been identified, and effective primary and secondary prophylaxis is available, the occurrence of VTE seems to be fairly constant, or even increasing.