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Men at Increased Risk of Recurrent Blood Clots

Researchers find men have a 50 percent higher risk than women after anticoagulant therapy is stopped

FRIDAY, July 28 (HealthDay News) -- After a first thromboembolism, men have about a 50 percent higher risk of recurrence than women do after the cessation of anticoagulant therapy, according to a study published in the July 29 issue of The Lancet.

Simon McRae, M.D., of Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woodville, South Australia, and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of 15 studies, which included 2,729 men and 2,687 women who received treatment for either deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism.

The researchers identified 816 recurrent blood clots, 523 (64 percent) of which occurred in men and 293 (36 percent) of which occurred in women. Their pooled estimate of the relative risk of recurrence was 1.6 for men compared to women. Although the reasons are unclear, the authors suggest that differences in age, body mass index or an inherited susceptibility to blood clots could account for men's increased risk.

"This difference in risk could be sufficient to affect selection of patients for indefinite anticoagulant treatment after an episode of unprovoked venous thromboembolism, especially if, as some studies have suggested, the risk of bleeding while on anticoagulant therapy is higher in women than in men," the authors conclude. "However, further prospective studies are needed before a firm recommendation can be made to incorporate patient sex into decision making on duration of anticoagulant treatment in individual patients with venous thrombosis."

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