Inflammatory bowel disease is a risk factor for thrombosis

People with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are more than three times as likely to develop blood clots in their veins (venous thromboembolism), finds new research in Gut.

Thromboembolism is a serious and potentially life threatening event. For many years, patients with IBD were thought to be at increased risk, but the evidence has been inconsistent.

Furthermore, it is not known if this risk is specific for IBD or if it is shared by other chronic inflammatory diseases or bowel disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis or coeliac disease.

Researchers surveyed 618 patients with IBD, 243 with rheumatoid arthritis, 207 with coeliac disease. All three patient groups were compared with matched control patients.

A total of 38 IBD patients (6.2%) suffered thromboembolism. This was significantly higher than the matched control group with only 10 cases reported (1.6%). The risk of thromboembolism was no higher in patients with rheumatoid arthritis or coeliac disease compared with controls.

IBD is a risk factor for thromboembolism, say the authors. It seems that thromboembolism is a specific feature of IBD as neither rheumatoid arthritis, nor coeliac disease had an increased risk. However, there appears to be no obvious explanation for these findings.

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