|Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a disease that comprises two clinical entities: deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. This common disease with an annual incidence of 1-2 per 1000 in the general population can be fatal or result in serious functional disability . The impact of VTE on morbidity and mortality together with the health care costs it engenders make this disease a major public health problem.
The risk of thrombosis is probably potentiated by a synergistic combination of factors in the renowned triad described by Virchow in 1884: venous stasis, endothelial injury and hypercoagulability. The pathogenesis of VTE results from a complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors, both transient and acquired.
The incidence of venous thromboembolic events increases with age, which is an independent thromboembolic risk factor. This risk is all the higher because age is also associated with a higher frequency of comorbidities such as surgery, immobility or cancer, which promote the development of venous thrombosis.
he incidence of first-time VTE rises exponentially with age, from a negligible rate (<5 per 100.000 per year) among children <15 years of age to values in the range of 450 to 600 per 100.000 per year (â0.5%/year) among individuals over the age of 80 years 3. According to Oger et al. , the incidence of VTE increases sharply with age, reaching 1% in individuals over 75, which is twice as high than in patients aged 60-74. Women of childbearing age are more frequently affected than men of the same age, a difference which is attributable to pregnancy and to the use of oral contraceptives. On the other hand, among the elderly, women are at considerably lower risk than men.