Venous thromboembolism (VTE), which comprises of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE), is a blood clot (thrombosis) of the circulatory system that blocks blood flow. VTE can happen at any age, though it is more common in adults ages 60 years and older and is very rare in children.

VTE events are highly dangerous and are associated with high rates of death and disability. Roughly one quarter of PE cases initially present clinically as sudden death. PE has an 18-fold higher risk of early death than DVT alone, and is considered to be an independent risk factor for early death for up to three months after disease onset. Although the risk factors for VTE are well known and there are effective prophylactic treatments, a significant portion of at-risk patients are not being treated prophylactically for VTE.

VTE has several known risk factors, such as recent surgery, acute medical illness, malignant cancer, hospital stays, and recent trauma. According to data from the Rochester Epidemiology Project, recent surgery was one of the greatest risk factors for developing VTE, which increases one’s odds of developing VTE by almost 22 times compared with someone who has not had recent surgery.

The figure below presents the number of medically ill discharges in the seven major markets (7MM) (US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, and Japan), along with the medically ill discharges at risk for VTE, and of those at risk, the number that receive prophylactic treatment.

Figure 1: 7MM, Medically Ill Discharges at Risk for VTE and those Receiving Prophylaxis

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As seen from the data, more than 35% of medically ill discharges at risk for VTE do not receive any form of prophylactic treatment. With the number of medically ill discharges forecast to grow by more than 10,000,000 people from 2015 to 2025, the number of medically ill discharges not receiving prophylactic treatment will also grow. This treatment gap will need to be addressed by the medical community in order to prevent the severe complications of VTE.