Anticoagulant therapy management of venous thromboembolism recurrence occurring during anticoagulant therapy: a descriptive study


Limited evidence exists regarding management of recurrent venous thromboembolism (VTE) that occurs during anticoagulant therapy. We aimed to describe patient characteristics, drug therapy management, and outcomes of patients with VTE recurrence during anticoagulant therapy. We identified 30 relevant episodes of VTE recurrence. Mean age was 48.9 (15.9) years, 56.7% were male, and 93.3% were White. Common VTE risk factors included cancer (46.6%), recent surgery (33.3%), and prolonged immobility (30.0%). At the time of recurrent VTE, 40.0% were receiving enoxaparin, 30.0% warfarin, and 23.3% direct oral anticoagulants. Potential causes for VTE recurrence included indwelling venous catheters (40.0%), cancer (33.3%), subtherapeutic anticoagulation (26.7%), and nonadherence (23.3%). Recurrent VTE management strategies included switching anticoagulants (26.7%), increasing anticoagulant dose (20.0%), temporarily adding enoxaparin or unfractionated heparin to oral anticoagulation therapy (13.3%), or no change in anticoagulation therapy (43.3%). Only four adverse 90-day outcomes occurred among 17 patients who received anticoagulant therapy changes in response to VTE recurrence, whereas eight adverse outcomes occurred in the 13 patients who received no change in anticoagulation therapy in response to a recurrent VTE episode (value 0.04). Regardless of the potential etiology of recurrent VTE during anticoagulant therapy; switching anticoagulants, temporarily adding injectable anticoagulants, or increasing anticoagulant intensity appears preferable to continuing current anticoagulant therapy unchanged.

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Correspondence to Daniel M. Witt.

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Lai, N., Jones, A.E., Johnson, S.A. et al. Anticoagulant therapy management of venous thromboembolism recurrence occurring during anticoagulant therapy: a descriptive study. J Thromb Thrombolysis (2021).

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  • Venous thromboembolism
  • Anticoagulant therapy
  • Recurrence
  • Therapeutic management
  • Bleeding