Extended anticoagulation for venous thromboembolism: A survey of the American Venous Forum and the European Venous Forum

American Venous Forum Research Committee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Objective: Extended anticoagulation therapy should always be considered after standard treatment of an unprovoked episode of venous thromboembolism (VTE). It can also be considered for selected patients with provoked VTE. However, the evidence-based protocols suggested by some clinical guidelines and risk assessment tools to guide this practice are limited and ambiguous. The goal of the present survey research was to analyze current practices in applying extended anticoagulation therapy for patients with VTE among members of the American Venous Forum (AVF) and European Venous Forum (EVF). Methods: An online survey was created by the AVF Research Committee. The survey consisted of 16 questions to identify the country of practice, specialty, experience of the participating physicians, and their clinical practice patterns in applying extended anticoagulation therapy for VTE patients. The survey was distributed via e-mail to the members of the AVF and EVF. Results: A total of 144 practitioners, 48 AVF members (33%) and 96 EVF members (66%), participated in the survey. Most of the respondents identified themselves as vascular specialists with primary certification in vascular surgery (70%), vascular medicine or angiology (9%), and venous disease or phlebology (3%). Of the 144 respondents, 72% believed that the risk of VTE recurrence will generally overweigh the risk of bleeding for patients with unprovoked VTE. Extended anticoagulation therapy might be used by 97% of providers. Different patterns in real world clinical practice were identified. More than one half of the practitioners estimated the VTE recurrence and bleeding risk subjectively. The antithrombotic drugs most commonly used for secondary prophylaxis were rivaroxaban, apixaban, warfarin, dabigatran, and aspirin, in decreasing order of frequency. Among the reasons selected for not regularly considering extended anticoagulation therapy were the lack of specific clinical practice guidelines (24%), lack of reported evidence (9%), and absence of valid VTE and/or bleeding risk prediction calculators (8%). Twelve participants (8%) stated that extended anticoagulation therapy would not be beneficial for most patients with VTE. Ten participants (7%) indicated that prescribing extended anticoagulation therapy was outside the scope of their specialty. Conclusions: Different practice patterns exist regarding extending anticoagulation therapy beyond the standard treatment for patients with VTE. Major gaps in knowledge remain a serious challenge at least partially explaining the inaccuracy and inconsistency in long-term VTE management. Appropriately designed studies are needed to evaluate risk stratification tools when contemporary best medical therapy is used, accurately predict VTE recurrence and its long-term outcomes, and tailor safe and effective secondary prophylaxis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1012-1020.e3
JournalJournal of Vascular Surgery: Venous and Lymphatic Disorders
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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