Location of leg blood clots affects outcomes

15 January 2018

A common vascular disease, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), can cause dangerous blood clots to form in the legs. A study led by a Yale investigator suggests that the location of the clot can make a difference in patient outcomes.

Using data from a large international registry, Dr. Behnood Bikdeli and his co-authors determined that patients with DVT in the right leg had higher rates of pulmonary embolism - a potentially fatal complication in which a clot fragments and travels to the lungs. Those patients also had higher mortality rates.

But patients with DVT in both legs had the worst outcomes: Nearly half developed pulmonary embolism within 90 days of diagnosis, and a quarter died within the first year.

''We are concerned that bilateral DVT is a more serious form of disease. It is possible that these patients may need a tailored treatment strategy, an issue that needs further investigation,'' Bikdeli said.

Bikdeli is a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation at Yale School of Medicine.

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