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Risk and complications of venous thromboembolism in dialysis patients

Molnar AO, Bota SE, McArthur E, Lam NN, Garg AX, Wald R, Zimmerman D, Sood MM. Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2018; 33(5):874-80. Epub 2017 Jul 20.


Background — Contemporary data on venous thromboembolism (VTE) risk in dialysis patients are limited. Our objective was to determine the risk and complications of VTE among incident maintenance dialysis patients.

Methods — We performed a retrospective cohort study using administrative databases. We included adult incident dialysis patients from 2004 to 2010 (n = 13 315). Dialysis patients were age- and sex-matched to individuals of the general population using a 1:4 ratio (n = 53 260). We determined the 3-year cumulative incidence and incidence rate (IR) of VTE, pulmonary embolism (PE) and deep venous thrombosis (DVT). We examined outcomes of bleeding and all-cause mortality following a VTE event among matched dialysis patients who did and did not experience a VTE. We used Cox proportional hazards regression models, stratified on matched sets, to calculate the hazard ratios (HRs) for all outcomes of interest.

Results — VTE occurred in 1114 (8.4%) dialysis patients compared with 1233 (2.3%) individuals in the general population {IR 37.1 versus 8.1 per 1000 person-years; HR 4.5 [95% confidence interval (CI) 4.1–4.9]; adjusted HR 2.9 (95% CI 2.6–3.4)}. Both components of VTE [PE and DVT; adjusted HR 4.0 (95% CI 2.9–5.6) and HR 2.8 (95% CI 2.4–3.2), respectively] occurred more frequently in dialysis patients. Compared with dialysis patients without a VTE, those with a VTE had a higher risk of bleeding [adjusted HR 2.0 (95% CI 1.3–2.9)] and all-cause mortality [adjusted HR 2.4 (95% CI 2.0–2.8)].

Conclusions — VTE is common in dialysis patients and confers a high risk of major bleeding and all-cause mortality. Thromboprophylaxis and VTE treatment studies in dialysis patients are needed.

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