OBJECTIVE: Despite the endogenous coagulopathy of cirrhosis, some patients with cirrhosis experience thrombophilic states. This study aims to determine the incidence and predictors of venous thromboembolism (VTE), such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism, in hospitalized patients with cirrhosis. METHODS: A retrospective case-control study was performed in a tertiary-care teaching hospital over an 8-yr period. A total of 113 hospitalized patients with cirrhosis with a documented new VTE were compared to controls. Risk factors for VTE were determined using univariate and multivariate statistical analyses. RESULTS: Approximately 0.5% of all hospitalized patients with cirrhosis had a VTE. Traditional markers of coagulation such as INR and platelet count were not predictive of VTE. In the univariate analysis, serum albumin level was significantly lower in cases than controls (2.85 vs. 3.10 g/dL, respectively, p = 0.01). In the multivariate analysis, serum albumin remained independently predictive of VTE, with an odds ratio of 0.25 (95% CI 0.10-0.56). CONCLUSIONS: Approximately 0.5% of admissions involving cirrhosis patients resulted in a new thromboembolic event. Low serum albumin was strongly predictive of increased risk for developing VTE, independent of international normalized ratio or platelet count. Serum albumin deficiency may indicate low levels of endogenous anticoagulants.
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