Anticoagulation Management Practices and Outcomes in Elderly Patients with Acute Venous Thromboembolism: A Clinical Research Study

PLoS One. 2016 Feb 23;11(2):e0148348. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0148348. eCollection 2016.


Whether anticoagulation management practices are associated with improved outcomes in elderly patients with acute venous thromboembolism (VTE) is uncertain. Thus, we aimed to examine whether practices recommended by the American College of Chest Physicians guidelines are associated with outcomes in elderly patients with VTE. We studied 991 patients aged ≥65 years with acute VTE in a Swiss prospective multicenter cohort study and assessed the adherence to four management practices: parenteral anticoagulation ≥5 days, INR ≥2.0 for ≥24 hours before stopping parenteral anticoagulation, early start with vitamin K antagonists (VKA) ≤24 hours of VTE diagnosis, and the use of low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) or fondaparinux. The outcomes were all-cause mortality, VTE recurrence, and major bleeding at 6 months, and the length of hospital stay (LOS). We used Cox regression and lognormal survival models, adjusting for patient characteristics. Overall, 9% of patients died, 3% had VTE recurrence, and 7% major bleeding. Early start with VKA was associated with a lower risk of major bleeding (adjusted hazard ratio 0.37, 95% CI 0.20-0.71). Early start with VKA (adjusted time ratio [TR] 0.77, 95% CI 0.69-0.86) and use of LMWH/fondaparinux (adjusted TR 0.87, 95% CI 0.78-0.97) were associated with a shorter LOS. An INR ≥2.0 for ≥24 hours before stopping parenteral anticoagulants was associated with a longer LOS (adjusted TR 1.2, 95% CI 1.08-1.33). In elderly patients with VTE, the adherence to recommended anticoagulation management practices showed mixed results. In conclusion, only early start with VKA and use of parenteral LMWH/fondaparinux were associated with better outcomes.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Aged
  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence / statistics & numerical data
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Venous Thromboembolism / drug therapy*


  • Anticoagulants

Grants and funding

This study was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (grant 33CSCO-122659/139470).