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Appropriateness of thrombophilia testing in patients in the acute care setting and an evaluation of the associated costs

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Abstract

Thrombophilia testing is rarely recommended in acute care settings due to the high likelihood of false-positive and false-negative results. Inappropriately performing these tests in the acute care setting is associated with inaccurate interpretation and an increased economic burden. In this retrospective analysis, the appropriateness of thrombophilia tests ordered for patients in an acute care setting was evaluated in terms of both clinical utility and economic costs. This analysis included adult inpatients discharged from an academic community medical center from November 1, 2016 to November 1, 2017 who received thrombophilia testing. Patients were stratified into two groups: appropriately tested and inappropriately tested based on data abstracted directly from the electronic health record. The primary outcome, the appropriateness of the tests, was based on published criteria for thrombophilia testing and included concurrent anticoagulation use, patient admitting diagnosis, and/or comorbidities associated with thrombosis risk. The secondary endpoint was the financial burden of inappropriate thrombophilia testing based on assay charges. The analytic sample included 200 patients and 1393 thrombophilia tests. In 179 patients (89.5%), 1168 tests (83.8%) were inappropriately conducted. From 179 patients, tests in 85 were inappropriate due to concurrent anticoagulant use and/or provoked venous thromboembolism (VTE), and tests in 94 were inappropriate due to a lack of 2 or more risk factors for thrombophilia. Only 21 patients (10.5%) had appropriate testing with 225 tests (16.2%). The financial impact of inappropriate testing was estimated as excess charges amounting to $148,151.16/year. Restricting testing to avoid unnecessary risks and costs warrants further analysis.

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Acknowledgements

Drs. Adams and Brunetti for their constant support throughout the research process.

Funding

No funding was necessary to conduct this retrospective study.

Author information

All authors were involved in designing the study, analyzing the results, and constructing the manuscript.

Correspondence to Riddhi Virparia.

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Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This retrospective study was conducted in compliance with the ethical principles outlined by the Institutional Review Boards (IRB) at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset and Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences.

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Virparia, R., Brunetti, L., Vigdor, S. et al. Appropriateness of thrombophilia testing in patients in the acute care setting and an evaluation of the associated costs. J Thromb Thrombolysis 49, 108–112 (2020) doi:10.1007/s11239-019-01930-w

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Keywords

  • Thrombophilia testing
  • Recurrent thromboembolism
  • Thrombosis risk
  • Anticoagulation