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J Thromb Haemost. 2008 Sep;6(9):1468-73. doi: 10.1111/j.1538-7836.2008.03077.x. Epub 2008 Jul 8.

Incidence of symptomatic venous thromboembolism following hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.

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  • 1Blood and Marrow Transplant Program, The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, ON, Canada.



The incidence of symptomatic venous thromboembolism (VTE) following hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is not well described, particularly with increased use of ambulatory care in the transplant setting.


A retrospective analysis involving 589 patients (382 autologous HSCT, 207 allogeneic HSCT) undergoing transplantation between 2000 and 2005 in a single Canadian institution was undertaken to identify the incidence of proximal deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism (PE) in HSCT patients.


The total 1-year incidence of symptomatic VTE was 3.7% [95% confidence interval (CI) 2.5-5.6]. Among the HSCT patients, 7/589 (1.2%, 95% CI 0.6-2.4) developed symptomatic non-catheter-related VTE following HSCT (four PE and three DVT). All VTE events occurred after hematopoietic engraftment. Patients undergoing autologous HSCT did not receive thromboprophylaxis, whereas most patients undergoing allogeneic HSCT (79.7%) received enoxaparin 20 mg daily for the prevention of veno-occlusive disease of the liver, starting 6 +/- 3 days before transplantation for a mean of 22 +/- 14 days.


HSCT patients have a high incidence of VTE. Thromboprophylaxis should potentially be considered in these patients. However, future studies assessing the risk and benefits of thromboprophylaxis are needed in this specific population.

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