Open Your Eyes to the Burden of Venous Thromboembolism (VTE)
On 9 October 2014, in conjunction with the first World Thrombosis Day, the WTD Steering Committee published a global burden of disease paper, titled, "Thrombosis: a major contributor to the global disease burden," in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis (JTH).
The burden of disease article is the most comprehensive scientific review of the global burden of VTE ever undertaken. With a literature search including over 8,000 citations, the article received tremendous acclaim and was published in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, Thrombosis and Haemostasis Thrombosis Research, Seminars in Thrombosis and Hemostasis and Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology. A commentary was also published in the esteemed Lancet.
A systematic review of the literature on the global disease burden caused by VTE in low-income, middle-income and high-income countries was performed. Studies from Western Europe, North America, Australia and southern Latin America (Argentina) yielded consistent results, with annual incidence rates ranging from 0.75 to 2.69 per 1000 individuals in the population. The incidence increased to between 2 and 7 per 1000 among those aged ≥ 70 years. Although the incidence is lower in individuals of Chinese and Korean ethnicity, their disease burden is not low, because of population aging.
VTE associated with hospitalization was the leading cause of disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) lost in low-income and middle-income countries, and the second most common cause in high-income countries, being responsible for more DALYs lost than nosocomial pneumonia, catheter-related bloodstream infections, and adverse drug events.
VTE causes a major burden of disease across low-income, middle-income and high-income countries. More detailed data on the global burden of VTE should be obtained to inform policy and resource allocation in health systems, and to evaluate whether improved utilization of preventive measures will reduce the burden.