Upper extremity deep vein thrombosis: a community-based perspective

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Aged; Catheterization, Central Venous; Female; Humans; Incidence; Lower Extremity; Male; Massachusetts; Middle Aged; Multivariate Analysis; Pulmonary Embolism; Retrospective Studies; Risk Factors; *Upper Extremity; Venous Thrombosis


Bioinformatics | Biostatistics | Epidemiology | Health Services Research


PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to examine the magnitude, risk factors, management strategies, and outcomes in a population-based investigation of patients with upper, as compared with lower, extremity deep vein thrombosis diagnosed in 1999.

METHODS: The medical records of all residents from Worcester, Massachusetts (2000 census=478,000) diagnosed with ICD-9 codes consistent with possible deep vein thrombosis at all Worcester hospitals during 1999 were reviewed and validated.

RESULTS: The age-adjusted attack rate (per 100,000 population) of upper extremity deep vein thrombosis was 16 (95% confidence interval [CI], 13-20) compared with 91 (95% CI, 83-100) for lower extremity deep vein thrombosis. Patients with upper extremity deep vein thrombosis were significantly more likely to have undergone recent central line placement, a cardiac procedure, or an intensive care unit admission than patients with lower extremity deep vein thrombosis. Although short-term and 1-year recurrence rates of venous thromboembolism and all-cause mortality were not significantly different between patients with upper, versus lower, extremity deep vein thrombosis, patients with upper extremity deep vein thrombosis were less likely to have pulmonary embolism at presentation or in follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS: Patients with upper extremity deep vein thrombosis represent a clinically important patient population in the community setting. Risk factors, occurrence of pulmonary embolism, and timing and location of venous thromboembolism recurrence differ between patients with upper as compared with lower extremity deep vein thrombosis. These data suggest that strategies for prophylaxis and treatment of upper extremity deep vein thrombosis need further study and refinement.

DOI of Published Version



Am J Med. 2007 Aug;120(8):678-84. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The American journal of medicine

PubMed ID


Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed