What increases the risk of deep venous thrombosis (DVT) due to venous insufficiency?

Updated: Sep 25, 2020
  • Author: Robert Weiss, MD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Patients have an increased lifetime risk of DVT and pulmonary embolism. Tsai et al, examining the National Inpatient Sample from 1988-2000, found that DVT affected 1.3% of patients and that amputation was necessary in 1.2%, with an overall mortality of 1.6%. [12]

As many as 50% of patients with untreated varicose veins develop superficial thrombophlebitis at some time. This is of grave concern, because unrecognized DVT is present in as many as 45% of patients with what appears to be purely superficial phlebitis. The risk of DVT is 3 times higher in patients with superficial varicosities than in the general population.

Bed rest and intercurrent illness place patients with venous insufficiency at higher risk for DVT. Phlebitis develops in 60% of hospitalized patients with clinically evident superficial venous insufficiency, and in nearly one half of cases, the condition progresses to DVT. Approximately one half of patients with DVT have detectable pulmonary embolism, and the death rate in this group exceeds 1 in 3.

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