Older adults who get infections of any kind – such as urinary, skin, or respiratory tract infections – are nearly three times more likely to be hospitalized for a dangerous blood clot in their deep veins or lungs, University of Michigan Health System research shows.
The most common predictor of hospitalization for venous thromboembolism – a potentially life-threatening condition that includes both deep-vein and lung blood clots – was recent exposure to an infection, according to the study released April 3 ahead of print in Circulation.
“Over half of older Americans who were hospitalized for such blood clots had an infection in the 90 days prior to the hospitalization,” says lead author Mary Rogers, Ph.D., M.S., research assistant professor in Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School and research director of the Patient Safety Enhancement Program at the U-M Health System and the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.
“This is important because infections are common and many people do not link infections with developing blood clots. In fact, many educational websites do not list infections as a risk factor for blood clots – but they are.”
f the infection occurred during a previous hospital or nursing home stay, patients were nearly seven times more likely to be admitted for a blood clot. Those who got the infection at home were nearly three times more likely to be sent to the hospital for a blood clot within 90 days.
The study also found that other strong predictors of hospitalization for blood clots included blood transfusions and drugs prescribed to stimulate red blood cell production (known as erythropoiesis-stimulating agents), which are sometimes given to treat anemia. The risk of hospitalization for blood clots was nine times greater after the use of these drugs.
The study comes as the rate of hospitalization for venous thromboembolism steadily increases in the United States, with more than 330,000 hospital admissions for this condition a year.
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