Risk factors for deep venous thrombosis of the upper extremities

Ida Martinelli, Marco Cattaneo, Daniela Panzeri, Emanuela Taioli, Pier Mannuccio Mannucci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Hypercoagulable states and triggering factors (surgery, trauma, immobilization, pregnancy, and use of oral contraceptives) are associated with an increased risk for deep venous thrombosis of the lower extremities. In contrast, risk factors for deep venous thrombosis of the upper extremities have not been identified. Objective: To evaluate the prevalence of hypercoagulable states and triggering factors in patients with primary deep venous thrombosis of the upper extremities. Design: Frequency-matched case- control study. Setting: Hemophilia and thrombosis center at a university hospital Patients: 36 patients who had primary deep venous thrombosis of the upper extremities, 121 patients who had primary deep venous thrombosis of the lower extremities, and 108 healthy controls. Patients who had deep venous thrombosis of the lower extremities and study controls were frequency- matched by age, sex, geographic origin, and social status with patients who had deep venous thrombosis of the upper extremities. Measurements: Resistance to activated protein C was evaluated by a clotting method based on the activated partial thromboplastin time. If test results were abnormal or borderline, DNA analysis for substitution in coagulation factor V gene was done. Antithrombin, protein C, protein S, antiphospholipid antibodies, and total plasma homocysteine levels were also measured. Results: Prevalences of abnormalities of the natural anticoagulant system (9%) and hyperhomocysteinemia (6%) in patients who had deep venous thrombosis of the upper extremities were similar to prevalences of both factors in controls (6% and 7%, respectively) but lower than in patients who had deep venous thrombosis of the lower extremities (31% and 14%, respectively). Antiphospholipid antibodies were found only in patients who had venous thrombosis of the lower extremities (7%). The overall prevalence of hypercoagulable states in patients who had thrombosis of the upper extremities (15%) was similar to that in controls (12%) but was significantly lower than that in patients who had thrombosis of the lower extremities (56%). A recent history of strenuous exercise of muscles in the affected extremity was the most frequent triggering factor for patients who had deep venous thrombosis in the upper extremities (33%). Conclusions: This preliminary study indicates that the prevalence of hypercoagulable states is low in patients who have primary deep venous thrombosis of the upper extremities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)707-711
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Internal Medicine
Volume126
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - May 1 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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