▪ Abstract The inherited hypercoagulable states can be divided into those that are common and associated with a modest risk of thrombosis (i.e. factor V Leiden and G20210A prothrombin gene) and those that are uncommon but asssociated with a high risk of thrombosis. There is no convincing evidence that, independent of other clinical factors, the presence of factor V Leiden or the prothrombin gene mutation should influence the use of primary prophylaxis or the duration of anticoagulant therapy following an episode of thrombosis. Indrect evidence sugests that the presence of antithrombin, protein C deficiency, or protein S deficiency justifies avoiding additional risk factors for thrombosis, such as estrogen therapy, and justifies use of more aggressive primary prophylaxis when additional risk factors cannot readily be avoided (e.g. pregnancy). The presence of one of these three abnormalities also favors more prolonged anticoagulant therapy following venous thrombosis. However, their presence or absence appears to have less influence on the risk of recurrent venous thromboembolism than whether thrombosis was provoked by a major reversible risk factor, such as surgery.