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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Risk of venous thromboembolism in people admitted to hospital with selected immune-mediated diseases: record-linkage study

Sreeram V Ramagopalan12, Clare J Wotton3, Adam E Handel12, David Yeates3 and Michael J Goldacre3*

Author Affiliations

1 Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

2 Department of Clinical Neurology, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

3 Unit of Health-Care Epidemiology, Department of Public Health, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

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BMC Medicine 2011, 9:1  doi:10.1186/1741-7015-9-1

Published: 10 January 2011

Abstract

Background

Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a common complication during and after a hospital admission. Although it is mainly considered a complication of surgery, it often occurs in people who have not undergone surgery, with recent evidence suggesting that immune-mediated diseases may play a role in VTE risk. We, therefore, decided to study the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) in people admitted to hospital with a range of immune-mediated diseases.

Methods

We analysed databases of linked statistical records of hospital admissions and death certificates for the Oxford Record Linkage Study area (ORLS1:1968 to 1998 and ORLS2:1999 to 2008) and the whole of England (1999 to 2008). Rate ratios for VTE were determined, comparing immune-mediated disease cohorts with comparison cohorts.

Results

Significantly elevated risks of VTE were found, in all three populations studied, in people with a hospital record of admission for autoimmune haemolytic anaemia, chronic active hepatitis, dermatomyositis/polymyositis, type 1 diabetes mellitus, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, myxoedema, pemphigus/pemphigoid, polyarteritis nodosa, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren's syndrome, and systemic lupus erythematosus. Rate ratios were considerably higher for some of these diseases than others: for example, for systemic lupus erythematosus the rate ratios were 3.61 (2.36 to 5.31) in the ORLS1 population, 4.60 (3.19 to 6.43) in ORLS2 and 3.71 (3.43 to 4.02) in the England dataset.

Conclusions

People admitted to hospital with immune-mediated diseases may be at an increased risk of subsequent VTE. Our findings need independent confirmation or refutation; but, if confirmed, there may be a role for thromboprophylaxis in some patients with these diseases.