What is the rate of recurrence for venous thromboembolism (VTE)?

Updated: Nov 05, 2020
  • Author: Vera A De Palo, MD, MBA, FCCP; Chief Editor: Vinod K Panchbhavi, MD, FACS, FAOA, FABOS, FAAOS  more...
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Recurrence of thromboembolism had been documented following discontinuance of therapy. After a 3- to 6-month course of anticoagulant therapy, the risk of recurrent thromboembolism is lower in patients who have reversible risk factors. The recurrence rate is higher in patients with previous proximal vein thrombosis than in those with calf vein thrombosis.

After a 3-month course of anticoagulant therapy, the risk of secondary thrombosis is 2-4% in the first year. The recurrence risk is dependent on the precipitating risk factor: Risk is low if VTE is provoked by surgery, intermediate if it is related to a nonsurgical risk factor, and high if it is unprovoked and occurs in the setting of the patient with a disease-related risk factor. [63]

Two studies indicated that aspirin reduces by one third the rate of VTE recurrence and the rate of major vascular events (a composite outcome made up of stroke, myocardial infarction, and cardiovascular death, in addition to VTE). [64, 65] It also reduces arterial thrombotic events.

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