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Thromb Haemost. 1997 Apr;77(4):624-8.

The risk of recurrent venous thromboembolism in patients with and without factor V Leiden.

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Department of Internal Medicine I, University of Vienna, Austria.


Thromboprophylaxis with oral anticoagulants up to six months is established in patients after a first venous thromboembolic event (VTE). The risk of recurrent VTE is still considerable thereafter, and it is uncertain whether some patients might benefit from extended anti-coagulation. We performed a prospective, multicenter trial (4 thrombosis centers) and evaluated in 380 patients with a first or recurrent VTE (patients with a deficiency of antithrombin, protein C, protein S or plasminogen; cancer; or an antiphospholipid antibody syndrome were excluded) the risk of recurrence after discontinuation of secondary thromboprophylaxis with oral anticoagulants. It was the aim of the study to evaluate whether patients, with factor V Leiden are at an increased risk of recurrent VTE. 112 (29.5%) patients were carriers of factor V Leiden (26.9% heterozygous, 2.6% homozygous). After a median observation time of 19.3 months the overall recurrence rate of VTE was 9.9%. Recurrent deep vein thrombosis and/or pulmonary embolism occurred in 26 of 268 patients without factor V Leiden (9.7%) and in 10 of 112 patients with factor V Leiden (8.9%). The probability of recurrent VTE two years after discontinuation of oral anticoagulants was 12.4% (95% CI 7.8-17) in patients without factor V Leiden and was 10.6% (95% CI 3.8-17.4) in carriers of the mutation. This difference was statistically not significant. Patients with factor V Leiden are not at a higher risk of recurrent VTE within two years after discontinuation of oral anticoagulants than patients without factor V Leiden. Balancing the risk of recurrent VTE and bleeding from oral anticoagulants, patients with factor V Leiden are not likely to benefit from oral anticoagulant therapy extended beyond six months.

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