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Harvard Researchers Study Thrombosis Risk Factors

Harvard University researchers recently assessed risk factors related to venous thrombosis, a condition where excessive and potentially dangerous blood clots form in veins. The study focused on several factors that may determine frequency and severity of thrombotic events in patients. “Epidemiological studies have identified several acquired or inherited states that may result in endothelial damage or altered hemostatic equilibrium, thereby predisposing patients to arterial thrombosis,” reported David Feinbloom, MD. Dr. Feinbloom and fellow investigators suggest that clotting factor levels and platelet function may also play a role, “once thrombosis has been initiated, variations in the activity of coagulation proteins and endogenous anticoagulants, as well as the kinetics of platelet aggregation, may alter the effectiveness of thrombus formation.”

Venous thrombosis is found in patients with an inherited thrombophilia such as Factor V Leiden, or those in other designated risk factor categories such as pregnancy, cancer, immobilization, obesity and use of medications including birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy. Clots occurring in the legs, thighs or hip area are called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). DVTs often cause swelling and pain in the lower extremities. A clot that partially or completely breaks free, may travel through the bloodstream and lodge in a lung, causing a pulmonary embolism (PE). PE is a very serious DVT-related complication that can result in damage to the lungs and other organs, and sometimes death.

The study is entitled, “Assessment of hemostatic risk factors in predicting arterial thrombotic events,” and was published in the October, 2005 issue of the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.

Source: Heart Disease Weekly, November 27, 2005


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