Venous Thromboembolism Risk Factors Vary by Race

Black Americans with VTE less likely to have typical risks, more likely to have cardio risk factors
By Lindsey Marcellin
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, June 28 (HealthDay News) -- Black Americans with venous thromboembolism (VTE) are less likely to have commonly recognized transient risk factors for the condition, are more likely to have cardiovascular disease risk factors, and are more likely to progress to pulmonary embolism than are white Americans, according to research published in the July issue of the American Journal of Hematology.

John A. Heit, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues conducted a cross sectional study using data prospectively collected from seven U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Thrombosis and Hemostasis Centers from August 2003 to March 2009. The study included both white and black patients with VTE.

Compared to white Americans, the researchers found a higher incidence of pulmonary emboli in the black Americans -- including idiopathic pulmonary emboli in black women; a higher proportion of the blacks were women. Blacks had fewer typical risk factors for VTE, but were more likely to have a higher body mass index, hypertension, diabetes, renal disease, HIV, and sickle-cell disease than whites. Compared to white women, a lower percentage of black women had recently used hormonal therapies or oral contraceptives. Given the lower proportion of blacks who had transient VTE risk factors, such as surgery or trauma, compared to whites, and their higher incidence of idiopathic VTE, the authors concluded that heritable deep vein thrombosis causes maybe a more important risk factor for blacks.

"We believe these findings support the hypothesis that heritability plays a significant role in the etiology of VTE among black Americans. As the carrier frequencies of the two most common inherited polymorphisms associated with VTE (i.e., factor V Leiden, prothrombin G20210A) are extremely low among black Americans, we also hypothesize that other as yet unrecognized inherited polymorphisms are associated with VTE in blacks," the authors write.

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