Infection Linked to Dangerous Blood Clots

The most common predictor of hospitalisation for venous thromboembolism – a potentially life-threatening condition that includes both deep-vein and lung blood clots – was recent exposure to an infection, according to the study.

“Over half of older Americans who were hospitalised for such blood clots had an infection in the 90 days prior to the hospitalisation,” says Doctor Mary Rogers of the University of Michigan Medical School.

“This is important because infections are common and many people do not link infections with developing blood clots. In fact, many educational websites do not list infections as a risk factor for blood clots – but they are.”

The study comes as the rate of hospitalisation for venous thromboembolism steadily increases in the United States, with more than 330,000 hospital admissions for this condition a year. “We would like to decrease the number of preventable hospitalisations, both for the benefit of the patient and to help bring down the cost of medicine,” says Rogers. “We wanted to study the triggers of hospitalisation to help us understand what is driving such admissions and to think about actions we can take in order to prevent these hospitalisations.”

If the infection occurred during a previous hospital or nursing home stay, patients were nearly seven times more likely to be admitted for a blood clot. Those who got the infection at home were nearly three times more likely to be sent to the hospital for a blood clot within 90 days.

The study also found that other strong predictors of hospitalisation for blood clots included blood transfusions and drugs prescribed to stimulate red blood cell production (known as erythropoiesis-stimulating agents), which are sometimes given to treat anaemia. The risk of hospitalisation for blood clots was nine times greater after the use of these drugs.; Source: University of Michigan Health System