Treatment of patients with deep vein thrombosis and an antithrombin or protein C or S deficiency is based on case reports and personal experience.
To systematically assess the risk for recurrence of venous thromboembolism after a first episode in patients with these deficiencies, a literature review and retrospective family cohort study were performed.
For the literature review, the annual incidence of a first recurrent venous thromboembolism was assessed for each deficiency by dividing the number of venous thromboembolic events by the number of years at risk. For the family cohort study, 1- and 5-year cumulative incidences of first recurrence were calculated based on medical histories taken in relatives of consecutive patients in whom venous thromboembolism and a deficiency were diagnosed.
For the literature review, the annual incidence of a first recurrent venous thromboembolism in patients with antithrombin or protein S deficiency ranged from 13% to 17% and 14% to 16%, respectively. For the family cohort study, the 1- and 5-year cumulative incidences of recurrent venous thromboembolism were 10% (95% confidence interval, 1%-19%) and 23% (95% confidence interval, 10%-36%), respectively. Warfarin sodium (Coumadin) prophylaxis was associated with 2 venous thromboembolic events in 141 years at risk (1.4% per year), in contrast with 19 events in 709 years at risk (2.7% per year) without prophylaxis (difference, -1.3%; 95% confidence interval, -3.5% to 1.0%).
The annual incidence of recurrent venous thromboembolism is high during the first years following a first episode, but seems to decline thereafter. Therefore, our results challenge current practice of prescribing lifelong warfarin therapy after a first or second episode of venous thromboembolism in patients with antithrombin or protein C or S deficiency.Arch Intern Med. 1997;157:2227-2232