Venous thromboembolism prophylaxis in inflammatory bowel disease flare-ups

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Ann Gastroenterol


Background: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a set of chronic inflammatory diseases associated with significant morbidity. Generally, IBD patients have twice the risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) compared to healthy controls. VTE in IBD is associated with greater morbidity and mortality. This is compounded by the underutilization of pharmacological anticoagulation in hospitalized patients with IBD. One study showed that half the IBD patients who developed VTE were not receiving any thrombotic prophylaxis.

Method: We carried out a retrospective chart review of VTE prophylaxis use and safety in patients admitted with IBD flare-up between 2014 and 2017.

Results: We evaluated 233 patients (mean age 36.7 years; 53.6% male). Of these patients, 55.2% were Caucasian and 40.5% were African American; 72.5% had Crohn's disease and 21% ulcerative colitis. About one-third of our patients were on chronic steroids. Pharmacological prophylaxis was used in 39.7% of the patients. This significantly correlated with male sex, recent surgery, history of VTE, smoking, and chronic steroid use. Meanwhile, hematochezia, aspirin use, and a history of gastrointestinal bleeding were correlated with less use of pharmacological prophylaxis. Patients receiving pharmacological prophylaxis showed no difference in the incidence of bleeding events.

Conclusions: Multiple factors were associated with the use of pharmacological prophylaxis in hospitalized patients, including sex, steroid use, history of VTE events or gastrointestinal bleeding, and hematochezia. The incidence of major bleeding was not significantly greater in IBD patients receiving pharmacological prophylaxis.

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