CDC Study Finds People with Blood Clots at Risk of Permanent Work-Related Disability

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Venous thromboembolism (VTE), also known as blood clots, is an underdiagnosed and serious, but preventable medical condition. It is important to know about VTE because it can happen to anyone at any age and cause serious illness, disability, and in some cases, death. Given these serious complications, one might naturally expect that VTE would affect a person’s day-to-day activities and ability to work. However, the long-term impact of VTE on limiting a person’s activity or causing disability has not been well studied. This study is the first of its kind to document a relationship between VTE and subsequent work-related disability. This indicates that the economic burden of blood clots goes well beyond costs to the healthcare system; the loss of economic output of people who are unable to work due to complications of blot clots is also a substantial economic cost of VTE.

About this Study

CDC collaborated on a study of 66,005 individuals aged 20-65 years who had participated in two previous Norwegian studies, the Tromso Study and the Nord-Trondelag Health Study (HUNT), which looked at each participant’s risk of a first-time VTE during 1994-2008. The new study looked at whether or not participants who previously developed a first-time VTE subsequently received a disability pension due to work-related disability.

Participants with a VTE in the study had either a deep vein thrombosis (DVT, which is a blood clot in a deep vein, usually in the leg), a pulmonary embolism (PE, which is a blood clot in a lung), or both DVT and PE. The following categories of participants with blood clots were examined for their risk of developing a work-related disability:

  • VTE: Includes participants with DVT alone, PE alone, or both DVT and PE
  • DVT: Includes participants with DVT alone
  • PE: Includes participants with PE alone or both DVT and PE

This study, published in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, used data collected for the Tromso and HUNT studies, including data from physical examinations, blood samples, and questionnaires filled out by the participants. We invite you to read the scientific summary of the study here.

Main Findings from this Study

  • Participants with unprovoked VTE had 52% higher risk of work-related disability than those without VTE.
  • DVT was related to developing a disability. Patients with DVT had an 80% higher risk of work-related disability than those without DVT.
  • Participants with PE did not have a higher risk of work-related disability compared to those without PE.

More Information

Please visit the following links for more information about

Venous thromboembolism:

Hospital-associated venous thromboembolism:

Reference for the Study

Braekkan SK, Grosse SD, Okoroh EM, Tsai J, Cannegieter SC, Naess IA, Krokstad S, Hansen JB, and Skjeldestad FE. Venous thromboembolism and subsequent permanent work-related disability. Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis. 2016 Jul 13. DOI: 10.1111/jth.13411.