VTE with IBD

In our children’s hospital, work is underway to systematically screen children for risk factors for venous thromboembolism (VTE) and to establish an algorithm to lower the risk of a VTE with either mechanical or pharmacologic treatments. One of the risk factors has been the presence of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).  The absolute risk of IBD for VTE is not clear.  However, a recent study relates the risk among a large Danish population of adults and children (Gut 2011; 60: 937-43).

The study included 49,799 patients with IBD (14,211 Crohn’s, 35,229 UC) and compared with 477,504 members of the general population.  VTE risk for IBD was increased with HR of 2.0.  The incidence of VTE increased with age; however, the RR was higher in younger patients.  Among those less than 20 years, HR was 6.6 for VTE; HR 6.0 for DVT and 6.4 for PE.  In this age group, “unprovoked” VTE had HR of 4.5.  Unprovoked VTE was defined as event occurring without malignancy, recent surgery, pregnancy or fracture.

Although the relative risk is increased, the authors caution that the absolute risk in younger patients is low.  In those IBD patients less than 20 years, the incidence rate was 8.9 per 10,000 person years.  In contrast, in those IBD patients older than 60, the incidence rate was 54.6 per 10,000 person years.  There did not seem to be a significant difference between Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis in absolute or relative risk. The authors conclude that in those IBD patients younger than 20 years without ‘other VTE risk factors or limited mobility, the benefits of prophylaxis may no longer outweigh the risks.”  In older patients (>60 years), even outpatients experiencing flares might benefit from VTE prophylaxis.

Additional references:

  • -NEJM 2012; 366: 860 (letter to editor). Authors emphasize importance of VTE with UC, especially during flares.
  • -Lancet 2010; 375: 657-63. VTE with active IBD and in remission.
  • -Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2008; 6: 41-5. Thrombosis with IBD.
  • -Gut 2004; 53: 542-8. IBD -risk factor for VTE?
  • -Gut 2004; 53 (suppl 5): v1-16. IBD guidelines for management.