The Incidence of Venous Thromboembolism and Practice of Deep Venous Thrombosis Prophylaxis Among Hospitalized Cirrhotic Patients

Mira Alsheikh, Khalil Kamar, Malek Kreidieh, Rola Sasso, Samragnyi Madala, Rubal Sharma, Hassan Al Moussawi, Liliane Deeb


Background: Patients with liver cirrhosis have altered hepatic synthetic functions which theoretically result in reduced levels of pro-and anti-coagulant factors as well as thrombocytopenia. Initially, cirrhotic patients were thought to be at an increased risk of bleeding and a reduced risk of thrombosis. Several studies have recently reported an increased occurrence of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in cirrhotic patients. In this study, we aimed to assess the current practice of deep venous thrombosis (DVT) prophylaxis, the incidence and predictors of VTE, and the associated bleeding sequelae in patients with liver cirrhosis.

Methods: A retrospective cohort study was performed. We included all adult patients with a diagnosis of liver cirrhosis from January 2010 to June 2019 admitted to the hospital. Our cohort patients were divided into two groups, cirrhotic patients with pharmacological VTE prophylaxis and those with mechanical or no VTE prophylaxis.

Results: We included 601 cirrhotic patients in our study. The incidence of VTE occurring within the first 6 months of their admission was 1.5%. Seven patients (1.49%) developed VTE with the majority being DVTs while not on pharmacologic prophylaxis, and two patients developed VTE despite being on pharmacologic prophylaxis; however, there was no statistical difference. Alcohol use was the most common underlying cause of liver cirrhosis (40.4%), followed by chronic hepatitis C (21.1%), and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (11.3%). Out of the 601 patients included, 69 patients received neither pharmacologic nor mechanical VTE prophylactic agent (11.48%), while the remaining majority received either pharmacological or mechanical prophylaxis (88.52%).

Conclusions: Our study did not show a statistically significant association between the use of pharmacological VTE prophylactic agents and a reduction in the risk of VTE in cirrhotic patients. The rates of usage of DVT prophylactic agents among our Northwell hospitals during the study period appeared to be no longer suboptimal when compared to prior studies. Low albumin appears to be a predictor factor to develop VTE. There was a statistically significant increase in bleeding risk and transfusion requirement in cirrhotic patients receiving no pharmacological VTE prophylactic agents. Further prospective trials are needed to shed more light on this subject and identify the group of cirrhotic patients who could safely benefit from pharmacologic VTE prophylaxis.

Gastroenterol Res. 2022;15(2):67-74


Cirrhosis; Deep vein thrombosis; Bleeding; Deep vein thrombosis prophylaxis

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