Study Links Infection to Dangerous Blood Clots in Veins and Lungs

Posted on April 3, 2012

A University of Michigan study has found that adults who get infections of any kind - such as urinary, skin, or respiratory tract infections - are nearly three times more likely to be hospitalized for a dangerous blood clot in their deep veins or lungs. The research, published in Circulation, found that infection is the most common predictor of hospitalization for venous thromboembolism.

Lead author Mary Rogers, Ph.D., M.S., research assistant professor in Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School, says, "Over half of older Americans who were hospitalized for such blood clots had an infection in the 90 days prior to the hospitalization. This is important because infections are common and many people do not link infections with developing blood clots. In fact, many educational websites do not list infections as a risk factor for blood clots - but they are."

The study also found that other strong predictors of hospitalization for blood clots included blood transfusions and drugs prescribed to stimulate red blood cell production (known as erythropoiesis-stimulating agents), which are sometimes given to treat anemia. The risk of hospitalization for blood clots was nine times greater after the use of these drugs.

The researchers say that venous thromboembolism has been steadily increasing in the United States, with more than 330,000 hospital admissions for this condition a year.

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