What are the conditional recommendations from ASH guidelines for the management of venous thromboembolism (VTE)?

Updated: Oct 31, 2020
  • Author: Gary P Siskin, MD; Chief Editor: Kyung J Cho, MD, FACR, FSIR  more...
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Answer

Answer

Initial management

For patients with DVT and/or PE, the ASH guideline panel suggests using direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) over VKAs. No single DOAC is suggested over another.

In most patients with proximal DVT, anticoagulation therapy alone is suggested over thrombolytic therapy in addition to anticoagulation.

For patients with PE with echocardiography and/or biomarkers that are compatible with right ventricular dysfunction but without hemodynamic compromise (submassive PE), anticoagulation alone is suggested over the routine use of thrombolysis in addition to anticoagulation.

For patients with extensive DVT in whom thrombolysis is considered appropriate, the ASH guideline panel suggests using catheter-directed thrombolysis over systemic thrombolysis.

For patients with PE in whom thrombolysis is considered appropriate, systemic thrombolysis is suggested over catheter-directed thrombolysis.

For patients with proximal DVT and significant preexisting cardiopulmonary disease, as well as for patients with PE and hemodynamic compromise, use of anticoagulation alone is suggested rather than anticoagulation plus insertion of an inferior vena cava (IVC) filter.

Primary treatment

For primary treatment of patients with DVT and/or PE, whether provoked by a transient risk factor or by a chronic risk factor or unprovoked, using a shorter course of anticoagulation for primary treatment (3-6 months) is suggested over a longer course of anticoagulation for primary treatment (6-12 months).

Secondary prevention

To guide the duration of anticoagulation for patients with unprovoked DVT and/or PE, the ASH guideline panel suggests against routine use of prognostic scores, D-dimer testing, or ultrasonography to detect residual vein thrombosis.

Indefinite antithrombotic therapy is suggested over anticoagulation cessation after completion of primary treatment for the following:

  • Patients with DVT and/or PE provoked by a chronic risk factor
  • Patients with unprovoked DVT and/or PE

For patients with DVT and/or PE who have completed primary treatment and will continue to receive secondary prevention, use of anticoagulation is suggested over aspirin.

For patients with DVT and/or PE who have completed primary treatment and will continue with a DOAC for secondary prevention, the ASH guideline panel suggests using a standard-dose DOAC or a lower-dose DOAC.

Recurrent events

For patients with breakthrough DVT and/or PE during therapeutic VKA treatment, the ASH guideline panel suggests using low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) over DOAC therapy.

For patients who develop DVT and/or PE provoked by a transient risk factor and have a history of previous unprovoked VTE or VTE provoked by a chronic risk factor, indefinite antithrombotic therapy is suggested over stopping anticoagulation after completing primary treatment.

For patients who develop DVT and/or PE provoked by a transient risk factor and have a history of a previous VTE also provoked by a transient risk factor, anticoagulation cessation after completion of primary treatment is suggested over indefinite antithrombotic therapy.

Other

For patients with DVT and/or PE with stable cardiovascular disease (CVD) who initiate anticoagulation and were previously taking aspirin for cardiovascular risk modification, it is suggested that aspirin be suspended over continuing it for the duration of anticoagulation therapy.

For patients with DVT, with or without an increased risk for postthrombotic syndrome (PTS), the ASH guideline panel suggests against the routine use of compression stockings.


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