Management of venous thromboembolism in cancer patients.
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Venous thromboembolism is a common complication in patients with cancer. The management of deep-vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism can be a considerable challenge in these patients. Diagnosing venous thrombosis requires objective testing, and noninvasive investigations may be less accurate in patients who have cancer than in those who do not. Treatment of acute venous thrombosis at home with low-molecular-weight heparin is an attractive option in patients with malignant disease, in whom quality of life is especially important. Comorbid conditions, warfarin resistance, difficult venous access, and a potentially high bleeding risk are some of the factors that often complicate the prolonged course of anticoagulant therapy needed in this group. In addition, the use of central venous catheters is increasing, but the optimal treatment of catheter-related thrombosis remains controversial. This article reviews the current diagnostic and treatment approaches to venous thromboembolism in patients with cancer and provides several clinical scenarios to illustrate and discuss some common management problems.
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