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Infection DVT risk

The risk of developing a venous thromboembolism is significantly increased after infection, new UK general practice research suggests.

The risk of developing a venous thromboembolism is significantly increased after infection, new UK general practice research suggests.

A large study of 11,000 patients found risk of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism was doubled after acute urinary tract or respiratory infection and fell off only gradually over subsequent months.

Study leader Dr Liam Smeeth, reader in clinical epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a GP in north London, told Pulse: 'People seen in general practice are at risk for weeks or months post-infection.'

He added: 'This really does completely establish [infection] as a definite risk factor. Recent history of infection should increase suspicion.'

In the study, published in the April 1 issue of The Lancet, data on 7,278 patients with first DVTs and 3,755 patients with first pulmonary embolisms was scrutinised for recent infections.

Risk of DVT was increased 2.1-fold in the first two weeks following urinary tract infection, falling off to 81 per cent increased risk after nine to 12 weeks. Risk of pulmonary embolism was raised 2.1-fold in the first two weeks falling to 38 per cent higher after nine to 12 weeks.

An 11-fold increase in pulmonary embolism was found in the first couple of weeks after respiratory infection, although an initial misdiagnosis of pulmonary embolism as respiratory infection could not be ruled out.

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