Digestive Health

10 February 2010

Inflammatory Bowel Ups Risk for Blood Clots

Doctors should consider preventive measures, study suggests


This article has not necessarily been edited by Health24.

TUESDAY, Feb. 9 (HealthDay News) -- People with active inflammatory bowel disease are much more likely to develop blood clots than people without the condition, a new study suggests.

And that may make preventive drug treatment necessary, it adds.

The study, done in the United Kingdom, compared data on 13,756 people who had inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) with 71,672 people who did not have it. None of the people were hospitalized. Between November 1987 and July 2001, 304 people developed a blood clot (venous thromboembolism).

Overall, people with IBD were found to be 3.4 times more likely to develop a blood clot and eight times more likely at the time of an IBD flare. But the risk rose to 16 times higher if a flare occurred when the person was not hospitalized.

The study was published online Feb. 8 in The Lancet.

The researchers said the findings suggest that active IBD might be a far greater risk factor for blood clots than previously believed.

"We believe that the medical profession needs to recognize the increased risk in people with inflammatory bowel disease when assessing the likelihood of venous thromboembolism and to address the difficulty of reducing this risk in patients with a flare who are not admitted to hospital," wrote Dr. Matthew J. Grainge, of the University of Nottingham, and his colleagues.

They suggested that "strategies to achieve a reduction in risk might include those used for inpatients, such as brief courses of low-molecular weight heparin or, perhaps, newly available oral anticoagulants."

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about inflammatory bowel disease.


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Digestive Health Expert

Dr. Estelle Wilken is a Senior Specialist in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology at Tygerberg Hospital. She obtained her MBChB in 1976, her MMed (Int) in 1991 and her gastroenterology registration in 1995.

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