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Inflammatory bowel disease increases the risk of blood clots

Posted Mar 21 2011 12:06pm

Research published online by the Journal Gut indicates that Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) can double the risk of potentially fatal blood clots (venous thromboembolism) in the legs and lungs. 

The term inflammatory bowel disease typically refers to both Crohns Disease (CD) and Ulcerative Colitis (UC), both of which are chronic diseases involving the inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.  Venous thromboembolism (VTE), which includes deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE), and superior sagittal sinus thrombosis (SSST), typically affects 2 in every 1000 people in developed countries each year.

The research, which took place between 1980 and 2007, included 50,000 adults and children with Inflammatory Bowel Disease and more than 477,000 members of the general public. The findings took into account the known VTE risk factors, such as a broken bone, cancer, surgery and pregnancy. The comparison identified that the risk of VTE was twice as high in the people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease compared with the general public. 

The study further identified that the 20 years or younger age range had the greatest risk of VTE compared with all other age groups. The likelihood of a fatal blood clot in this age group remains very low, however it was six times as common among those with Inflammatory Bowel Disease as it was among the general public of the same age. 

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