Criteria for evaluating evidence that laboratory abnormalities are associated with the development of venous thromboembolism.
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The identification of conditions associated with an increased risk of venous thromboembolism may indicate the need for aggressive prophylaxis during periods of high risk, prolonged anticoagulant therapy after an initial venous thromboembolic episode, the investigation of asymptomatic family members and the avoidance of oral contraceptives. Advances in laboratory medicine have led to the identification and assessment of many proteins responsible for normal hemostasis, and associations between abnormalities in a number of these proteins and venous thromboembolism have been reported. Without the ability to appraise this information critically, physicians may be unable to determine whether or how they should modify their clinical practice. Criteria for determining whether specific laboratory abnormalities have a relationship with venous thromboembolism are proposed here, and one example of the application of these guidelines is provided.
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