Patients with neurologic disease are at high risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) (deep venous thrombosis [DVT] or pulmonary embolism [PE]) because of relative immobility or an increased risk of hypercoagulable states. Patients with spinal cord injuries, brain tumors, and strokes are at particularly high risk for VTE. Well-established risk assessment tools and a number of well-defined diagnostic tests to establish a VTE diagnosis are available. Unfortunately, physicians, in both the inpatient and outpatient settings, often do not have a sufficiently high level of clinical suspicion for DVT or PE, and the diagnosis is sometimes missed. The treatment of VTE is anticoagulation unless the patient is at unacceptably high risk for serious bleeding complications. The duration of anticoagulation depends on the presence of underlying hypercoagulable states and a prior history of VTE.
Address correspondence to Dr Michael Schneck, Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine, 2160 South 1st Avenue, Maywood, IL 60153, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Relationship Disclosure: Dr Schneck received or anticipates receiving personal compensation for speaking engagements from Boehringer Ingelheim and Sanofi-aventis, served in an editorial capacity for eMedicine, and served as a defense expert in a case review. Dr Schneck received research support from the National Institutes of Health, the Medical Research Council of England, and Merck & Co., Inc. Dr Biller has nothing to disclose.
Unlabeled Use of Products/Investigational Use Disclosure: Drs Schneck and Biller have nothing to disclose.