Pathogenesis, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Venous Thromboembolism in Older Adults.
J Am Geriatr Soc. 2016 Aug 24;
Authors: Johnson SA, Eleazer GP, Rondina MT
Older adults have a significantly greater risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE), including deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, than younger adults. The cause of this greater risk is thought to be multifactorial, including age-related changes in hemostatic factors and greater comorbid conditions and hospitalizations, but is not completely understood. Moreover, VTE remains underrecognized in older adults and may present atypically. Thus, a low index of clinical suspicion is essential when evaluating older adults with possible VTE. Despite this underrecognition in older adults, the diagnostic approach remains similar for all age groups and includes estimation of pretest probability, measurement of the D-dimer, and imaging. Antithrombotic agents are the mainstay of VTE treatment and, when used appropriately, substantially reduce VTE recurrence and complications. The approval of novel oral anticoagulants (NOACs), including dabigatran, rivaroxaban, apixaban, and edoxaban, provide clinicians with new therapeutic options. In some individuals, NOACs may offer advantages over warfarin, including fewer drug interactions, more-predictable anticoagulation, and lower risk of bleeding. Nevertheless, anticoagulation of VTE in older adults should always be performed cautiously, because age is a risk factor for bleeding complications. Identifying modifiable bleeding risk factors and balancing the risks of VTE recurrence with hemorrhage are important considerations when using anticoagulants in older adults.
PMID: 27556937 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]