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"The presence of an IVD increased the risk of PE and the risk of recurrent UE-DVT" Cires-Drouet et al (2021).

UEDVT prevalence and clinical outcomes


Objective: Upper extremity (UE) deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a common and increasing complication in hospitalized patients. The objective of the present study was to determine the prevalence, treatment strategies, complications, and outcomes of UE-DVT.

Methods: We performed a retrospective single-institution study of patients with a diagnosis of UE-DVT from January 2016 through February 2018 (26 months). Patients aged ≥18 years who had been admitted to the hospital and who had had positive UE duplex ultrasound findings for acute UE-DVT were included in the present study. The outcomes were in-hospital mortality, major bleeding, pulmonary embolism (PE), and recurrent UE-DVT.

Results: Among 63,045 patients admitted to the hospital, 1000 (1.6%) had been diagnosed with UE-DVT. Of 3695 UE venous duplex ultrasound examinations performed during the study period, almost one third (27.0%) were positive for acute UE-DVT. The mean age was 55.0 ± 17.2 years, and most patients were men (58.3%), white (49.2%), and overweight (mean body mass index, 29.4 ± 10.3 kg/m2). The most affected vein was the right internal jugular vein (54.8%). Most of the patients (96.9%) has been receiving venous thromboembolism prophylaxis or anticoagulation therapy at the diagnosis. Most patients (77.8%) had had an intravenous device (IVD) in place at the diagnosis. Most of the patients (84.4%) were treated with anticoagulation therapy in the hospital but only one half (54.5%) were discharged with anticoagulation therapy. In-hospital mortality was 12.1% unrelated to UE-DVT, major bleeding occurred in 47.6% of the patients during hospitalization (fatal bleeding, 1%), PE was diagnosed in 4.8% of the patients, and 0.7% were fatal. Recurrent UE-DVT occurred in 6.1% of the patients. On multivariable analysis, the risk of death was increased by older age, cancer, intensive care unit admission, concomitant lower extremity DVT, and bleeding before the UE-DVT diagnosis. The presence of an IVD increased the risk of PE and the risk of recurrent UE-DVT. The risk of major bleeding was increased by the presence of an IVD, female sex, and concomitant lower extremity DVT.

Conclusions: UE-DVT is a common complication in hospitalized patients (1.6%). Consequent acute PE and recurrent DVT remain important complications, as does bleeding. It is unclear whether standard thromboprophylaxis effectively protects against UE-DVT. More studies dedicated to UE-DVT are required to provide appropriate guidance on prophylaxis and treatment.


Cires-Drouet RS, Durham F, Sharma J, Cheeka P, Strumpf Z, Cranston E, Xu C, Mayorga-Carlin M, Sorkin JD, Lal BK. Prevalence and clinical outcomes of hospitalized patients with upper extremity deep vein thrombosis. J Vasc Surg Venous Lymphat Disord. 2021 Jun 2:S2213-333X(21)00286-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jvsv.2021.05.007. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34089941.