Data and Statistics on Venous Thromboembolism

At a glance

  • Up to 900,000 people in the United States are affected by venous thromboembolism (VTE, a blood clot), each year
  • People are at particularly high risk for VTE during or just after a hospitalization (with or without surgery), during cancer treatment, and during or just after pregnancy
  • An estimated 60,000-100,000 Americans die of VTE each year and many others have long-term complications from a VTE
Laptop displaying data charts and tables

Incidence and prevalence

Diverse group of people
Venous thromboembolism (VTE) affects all types of people.
  • Venous thromboembolism (VTE) refers to blood clots in the veins. It includes both deep vein thrombosis (DVT, blood clot in the deep veins, most commonly in the legs) and pulmonary embolism (PE, blood clot in the lungs).
  • The precise number of people affected by either a DVT or PE is unknown, although as many as 900,000 people could be affected each year in the United States.
  • Sudden death is the first symptom in about one-quarter (25%) of people who have a PE.
  • An estimated 60,000-100,000 Americans die of VTE each year.

Healthcare-associated VTE

  • More than a third of VTE cases diagnosed each year are related to a recent hospitalization and most of these do not occur until after discharge.
  • VTE is a leading cause of preventable hospital death in the United States.
  • VTE is the fifth most frequent reason for unplanned hospital readmissions after surgery, overall, and the third most frequent among patients undergoing total hip or knee joint replacement.
  • As many as 70% of cases of healthcare-associated VTE are preventable through measures such as use of anticoagulant medications or compression stockings. Yet fewer than half of hospital patients receive these measures.

Cancer and VTE

  • An estimated one in five cases of VTE are related to cancer and its treatment.
  • The risk is greatest in the first few months after a cancer diagnosis, the time when treatment generally occurs.
  • Among people with cancer, survival rates are lower for people who also have a VTE.

Pregnancy and VTE

  • Women are five times more likely to experience a VTE during pregnancy, childbirth, or the 3-month period after delivery.
  • PE is one of the most common causes of pregnancy-related death in the United States.


  • One-third (about 33%) of people with a VTE will have a recurrence within 10 years.
  • Among people who have had a DVT, one third to one half will have long-term complications (post-thrombotic syndrome) such as swelling, pain, discoloration, and scaling in the affected limb.
  • Chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension is a complication that can happen after a PE with a large clot. It can stop blood from reaching the lungs and can be fatal.