Isolated calf deep vein thrombosis in the community setting: the Worcester Venous Thromboembolism study
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The prevalence of isolated calf deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in the community setting is relatively unexplored. Confusion remains with regards to its management and contemporary natural history. The purpose of this investigation was to describe the number of cases of calf DVT in the community, use of early management strategies, and rates of venous thromboembolism (VTE) recurrence and major bleeding. The medical records of residents of the Worcester (MA) metropolitan area with ICD-9 codes consistent with potential VTE during 4 study years (1999/2001/2003/2005) were validated by trained nurses. Patient demographic/clinical characteristics, treatment practices, and outcomes were evaluated. Isolated calf DVT was diagnosed in 166 (11.1%) of 1,495 patients with lower extremity DVT. Patients with calf DVT were less likely to be discharged on anticoagulants or with an IVC filter than patients with proximal DVT (84.1 vs. 92.3%). The rates of VTE recurrence and pulmonary embolism did not differ significantly between patients with calf DVT and proximal DVT at 6 months (11.0 vs. 8.7%, 2.6 vs. 1.8%, respectively). Patients with calf DVT had higher adjusted risk of early (14-day) VTE recurrence/extension (OR 2.34, 95% CI 1.01-5.44). Patients with calf DVT had lower rates of major bleeding at 6 months compared to patients with proximal DVT (5.2 vs. 9.3%, P = 0.04). Rates of recurrent VTE and major bleeding following calf DVT in the community are much higher than in randomized clinical trials of patients with proximal or calf DVT. Further study of management strategies for isolated calf DVT is needed.
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