Recurrent venous thromboembolism after surgery-provoked versus unprovoked thromboembolism

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26 Scopus citations


Background: The incidence of recurrent venous thromboembolism (VTE) varies depending on the nature of the initial provoking risk factor(s). Objectives: To compare the incidence and time course of recurrent VTE after unprovoked VTE vs. VTE provoked by nine different types of surgery. Methods: Retrospective analysis of linked California hospital and emergency department discharge records. Between 1997 and 2007, all surgery-provoked VTE cases had a first-time VTE event diagnosed within 60 days after undergoing a major operation. The incidence of recurrent VTE was compared during specified follow-up periods by matching each surgery-provoked case with three unprovoked cases based on age, race, gender, VTE event, calendar year and co-morbidity. Results: The 4-year Kaplan-Meier cumulative incidence of recurrent VTE was 14.7 (95%CI: 14.2-15.1) in the matched unprovoked VTE group vs. 7.6% (CI: 7.0-8.2) in 11 797 patients with surgery-provoked VTE (P <0.001). The overall risk reduction was 48%, which ranged from 64% lower risk (P <0.001) after coronary bypass surgery to 25% lower risk (P =0.06) after disc surgery. The risk of recurrent VTE 1-5 years after the index event was significantly lower in the surgery group (HR = 0.47, CI: 0.41-0.53). Within the surgery-provoked group, the risk of recurrent VTE was similar in men and women (HR = 1.0, CI: 0.8-1.3). Conclusions: The risk of recurrent VTE after surgery-provoked VTE was approximately 50% lower than after unprovoked VTE, confirming the view that provoked VTE is associated with a lower risk of recurrent VTE. However, there was appreciable heterogeneity in the relative risk of recurrent VTE associated with different operations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)987-997
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2010


  • Epidemiology
  • Outcomes
  • Provoked
  • Recurrent
  • Surgery
  • Unprovoked
  • Venous thromboembolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Medicine(all)


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