Hospitalizations of adults 60 years of age or older with venous thromboembolism

Doctor talking with patient and taking notes.

The journal Clinical and Applied Thrombosis/Hemostasis has published a new study that looks at the rates, trends, and factors associated with venous thromboembolism (VTE) diagnosis among hospitalizations of adults aged ≥ 60 years during the period 2001 to 2010. Greater awareness of, and efforts for, VTE prevention may help reduce the occurrence of VTE among older adults. You can read the article’s abstract here.

While several studies have found that older age increases the risk for developing a VTE, very few have focused on VTE occurrence rates and the risks for older adults. CDC researchers found that a large number of hospitalizations with a VTE diagnosis occur every year among older adults and there was an increasing trend in the rates of such hospitalizations among older adult women during the first 4-year period (2001-2004) of the study.

Main findings from this Study

  • In every year from 2001 to 2010, there were a large number of hospitalizations with a venous thromboembolism diagnosis among adults aged 60 or older. The rate of such hospitalizations per 100,000 people in the population who are of age 60 or older ranged from 581 in 2001 to 739 in 2010.
  • Among the population of women 60 years of age or older, the rate of hospitalizations with a diagnosis of VTE increased significantly between the years 2001 to 2004.
  • A VTE diagnosis was more likely to be seen among hospitalizations of women aged 60 years and older than among hospitalizations of men aged 60 years and older.
  • A VTE diagnosis was more likely to be seen among hospitalizations of people aged 60 years and older if it was associated with each of the following factors (when compared to not having the respective factor):
    • venous catheterization (a medical procedure in which a tiny tube (catheter) is placed into a vein to deliver medication or fluids)
    • cancer
    • greater length of hospital stay
    • hospitalization in summer and autumn seasons (compared with spring)

What is Venous Thromboembolism (VTE)?

Venous thromboembolism includes both deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE), and is an important and growing public health issue.

What is Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)?

Deep Vein Thrombosis is a condition in which blood clots form in the deep veins of the body.

What is Pulmonary Embolism (PE)?

Pulmonary Embolism occurs when a clot breaks free and blocks the arteries of the lungs.

About this Study

CDC researchers used data from the 2001 to 2010 National Hospital Discharge Survey (NHDS). Hospitalizations in which a discharge diagnosis of VTE was recorded were defined as those having 1 or more of selected ICD-9-CM Codes indicating a diagnosis of DVT or PE or both.

CDC Activities

VTE is a serious health problem. It is a national priority. The Division of Blood Disorders in the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is committed to addressing this condition with a comprehensive public health approach. This includes supporting and conducting  studies of the patterns, causes, and effects of health and disease conditions in defined populations and health services research on the causes, prevention, and treatment of VTE; clarifying and promoting use of proven practices for screening, preventing, diagnosing, and treating VTE; increasing public and healthcare provider’s knowledge and awareness; and implementing systems to track VTE rates and monitor the use and effectiveness of treatments and awareness interventions over time.  Highlighted below are select activities that showcase CDC’s work on this important topic.

Critical Gaps %26 Future Directions

There is still much to learn about VTE, how to prevent it and manage complications associated with the condition.

  • Many of the estimates of the number of people affected by VTE come from studies that are a decade or more old and don’t assess how rates may differ by race/ethnicity, age, and sex.
  • While many factors that increase a person’s risk for VTE have been identified, in 10-20% of cases there is no known risk factor.
  • Effective strategies need to be identified that prevent new and recurring blood clots and the long-term, disabling health problems they cause while reducing the risk of treatment-related problems.
  • Bringing together VTE experts to inform, promote, and guide CDC’s activities around VTE monitoring and the prevention of healthcare-associated VTE.
  • Developing information collection systems that provide information on VTE occurring in the community (both in the hospital and after discharge) and in populations that have different age and racial/ethnic groups.
  • Analyzing information collected from the CDC-funded Thrombosis and Hemostasis Research and Prevention Centers to describe characteristics of persons with VTE.
  • Evaluating the use of existing data sources to identify the rates of use of protocols to prevent VTE in hospital settings and the occurrence of VTE after surgery.
  • Identifying what information is needed to increase the public’s and healthcare providers’ awareness and knowledge about VTE and how best to communicate the information.

More Information

To learn more about DVT/PE, please visit

To find other organizations that focus on DVT/PE, please visit or to obtain free resources on DVT/PE, please visit

Paper Reference

Yusuf HR, Reyes N, Zhang QC, Okoroh EM, Siddiqi AEA, Tsai J. Hospitalizations of Adults >60 Years of Age With Venous Thromboembolism. Clin Appl Thromb Hemost. 27 June 2013. [epub ahead of print]