Chapter 2: Risk Factors for Venous Thrombosis

Original authors: Peter K. Henke, Mark H. Meissner and Thomas

Abstracted by Kellie R. Brown


  • Introduction
  • How common are Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and Pulmonary Embolism (PE)?
  • What causes DVT and PE (venous thromboembolism -VTE)?
  • What are the risk factors for VTE?
    • Age, Gender and Race 
    • Surgery
    • Trauma
    • Medical Illness
    • Immobilization or Travel
  • Primary Blood Clotting Disorders
  • Oral Contraceptives and Hormonal Therapy
  • Pregnancy
  • How does clot affect the vein?
  • Does the vein return to normal after the clot resolves?
  • Conclusion


This chapter will discuss the common risk factors for Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT: blood clots forming in the deep veins often of the leg, pelvic or abdomen but can also occur in the arm veins), the changes that occur in a vein after a clot has formed, and what happens to the clot over time. Among patients with DVT, one third of them are diagnosed due to a pulmonary embolus (PE), a blood clot traveling in the blood vessels to the lung, causing shortness of breath and chest pain.  The long-term effects of DVT, called post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS), can be associated with skin discoloration, ulceration and other skin changes in the legs.

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