Acute infections and venous thromboembolism

M. Schmidt, E. Horvath-Puho, R. W. Thomsen, L. Smeeth, H. T. Sørensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

86 Citations (Scopus)


Background. Data on the association between acute infections and venous thromboembolism (VTE) are sparse. We examined whether various hospital-diagnosed infections or infections treated in the community increase the risk of VTE. Methods. We conducted this population-based case-control study in Northern Denmark (population 1.8million) using medical databases. We identified all patients with a first hospital-diagnosed VTE during the period 1999-2009 (n=15009). For each case, we selected 10 controls from the general population matched for age, gender and county of residence (n=150074). We identified all hospital-diagnosed infections and community prescriptions for antibiotics 1year predating VTE. We used odds ratios from a conditional logistic regression model to estimate incidence rate ratios (IRRs) of VTE within different time intervals of the first year after infection, controlling for confounding. Results. Respiratory tract, urinary tract, skin, intra-abdominal and bacteraemic infections diagnosed in hospital or treated in the community were associated with a greater than equal to twofold increased VTE risk. The association was strongest within the first 2weeks after infection onset, gradually declining thereafter. Compared with individuals without infection during the year before VTE, the IRR for VTE within the first 3months after infection was 12.5 (95% confidence interval (CI): 11.3-13.9) for patients with hospital-diagnosed infection and 4.0 (95% CI: 3.8-4.1) for patients treated with antibiotics in the community. Adjustment for VTE risk factors reduced these IRRs to 3.3 (95% CI: 2.9-3.8) and 2.6 (95% CI: 2.5-2.8), respectively. Similar associations were found for unprovoked VTE and for deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism individually. Conclusions. Infections are a risk factor for VTE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)608-618
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Internal Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2012


  • Antibacterial agents
  • Deep venous thrombosis
  • Infections
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Venous thromboembolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine

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