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Impact and clinical significance of recurrent venous thromboembolism. BJS 2010; 97: 989-999.

Published: 26th May 2010

Authors: N. Labropoulos, G. Spentzouris, A. P. Gasparis, M. Meissner


The purpose of this review was to analyse current knowledge and controversies associated with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of recurrent venous thromboembolism (VTE).


MEDLINE and manual searches were performed to select prospective papers on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of recurrent VTE for their relevance and quality.


The cumulative incidence of recurrent VTE increases from 11 per cent at 1 year to 40 per cent at 10 years. The incidence of recurrence is higher in unprovoked thrombosis compared with provoked VTE. Patients with unprovoked deep vein thrombosis also have a greater number of multiple recurrences. Ultrasonography or D‐dimer monitoring may have an impact on the duration of anticoagulation but further refinements are needed. The incidence of skin damage is higher in ipsilateral recurrence compared with contralateral or no recurrence. Legs with ipsilateral recurrence more often have both reflux and obstruction.


The role and weight of the predictive factors for recurrent VTE and its sequelae, and the type and optimal duration of anticoagulation have not been studied adequately. Fatality associated with pulmonary embolism and rates of recurrent VTE remain unacceptably high. Copyright © 2010 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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