Incidence of venous thromboembolism in Korea from 2009 to 2013

PLoS One. 2018 Jan 25;13(1):e0191897. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0191897. eCollection 2018.


The incidence of venous thromboembolism (VTE) is lower in Asian populations than in Western populations. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the annual age- and sex-adjusted incidence (ASR) of VTE from 2009 to 2013 in South Korea. In addition, annual change in the pattern of VTE treatment during the study period was estimated because a new direct oral anticoagulant (DOAC) had become available and was covered by health insurance in Korea beginning in January 2013. VTE cases from 2009 to 2013 were retrospectively identified based on both diagnostic and medication codes of anticoagulants used for initial treatment using the Korean Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service (HIRA) databases. The incidence of VTE increased yearly. It was significantly higher in the older population than in the younger population, and it was higher in females than in males. In 2009, ASRs of VTE, deep vein thrombosis, and pulmonary embolism were 21.3, 8.1, and 13.2 cases per 100,000 individuals, respectively in 2009. These increased to 29.2, 12.7, and 16.6 cases per 100,000, respectively, in 2013. Prescription rates of warfarin and low-molecular-weight heparin decreased with the introduction of a new anticoagulant in 2013. The proportion of subjects who underwent mechanical procedures decreased annually. The ASR of VTE in Korea continuously increased from 2009 to 2013, reflecting an increased awareness and detection of VTE as well as improved survival of patients with cancer and other morbidities. Following its introduction, DOAC rapidly replaced other anticoagulants for the treatment of VTE.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Heparin, Low-Molecular-Weight / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Embolism / epidemiology
  • Republic of Korea / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rivaroxaban / therapeutic use
  • Sex Factors
  • Venous Thromboembolism / drug therapy
  • Venous Thromboembolism / epidemiology*
  • Venous Thrombosis / epidemiology
  • Warfarin / therapeutic use
  • Young Adult


  • Anticoagulants
  • Heparin, Low-Molecular-Weight
  • Warfarin
  • Rivaroxaban

Grant support

This work was supported by a grant (KSTH 2016-002) from the Korean Society on Thrombosis and Hemostasis. The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. There was no additional external funding received for this study.